Bob Ammerman #1036, retired Seattle Police Lieutenant passed away on October 10, 2017 at age of 94.
Bob was born in Arlington, California. His family moved to Riverside, California to cultivate orange groves. He was raised attending the crops. In high school, he played football and basketball. But during the growing seasons, it was back to the orange fields, not the sports fields. When he graduated, his father wanted him to be a full-time grove worker; however, Bob and his cousin had other plans. He joined the Navy to escape the groves. He enlisted as a seaman. His cousin accidentally joined the Marines: he thought it was the Navy! With the war clouds gathering, Bob switched to Aviation, eventually going to flight school. After flight training, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Theater. His cousin was also assigned to the Pacific, as a ground pounder. Bob used to claim that he destroyed more US aircraft than the Japanese Armed Forces. In one crash on a carrier’s flight deck, his plane was upside down. When he released his six-point safety straps, the plane’s canopy automatically flipped open and he fell out onto the flight deck head first. Bob always said this injury is what qualified him to be a Police Lieutenant.
When Bob mustered out of the Navy in 1945, he landed in Bremerton. He moved to Seattle and enrolled in the U of W. There, he met Dee, his wife of 64 years. They were married in 1948. He attended classes all four quarters to graduate in three years, with a teaching degree, majoring in Mathematics. He got a teaching job in late 1948.
In 1949, Bob’s cousin took the test to be a Seattle Policeman and failed. He was telling Bob how hard the Civil Service test was. Bob kind of made fun of the failure. So, his cousin (the one who accidentally joined the Marines) bet Bob $100 he could not pass the testing process. The $100 was a lot of money then, so Bob took the test without any interest in joining the Department. He passed and got the cash. When the Department offered the job, he accepted, knowing teaching jobs were always available if policing didn’t work out. It did.
He joined the Department in July of 1949. He worked Patrol in the Central Precinct with Dave Devine #999 for almost 10 years, first in a car, then a walking beat. In 1961, Bob was promoted to sergeant and assigned to Wallingford. One of the north end officers met Bob’s daughter, Diane. The officer was always complaining about his no-good sergeant that tore his reports apart with a red pen, making it necessary to be rewritten. Eventually, Diane told him the sergeant was a former teacher and her father. Obviously, this officer had a spelling disability, not to realize both Diane and Bob spelled their last name the same. In 1968, he transferred back to West Central to supervise the First Squad, which he did until March of 1971 when he was promoted to lieutenant. He never took another promotional test. He retired at the end of July 1979 with 30 years of service.
Bob found his love of the water while in the Navy. He was an ardent boater. He and Dee built their retirement dream home in 1978, over-looking Hood Canal and the bridge there. One month after completion in February 1979, the big wind storm (120 mph) blew down three large trees on their home and even sunk the Hood Canal bridge. They had to rebuild one half of the house. During this time, they lived on their 38-foot Tolly Craft. This same boat that they took throughout the San Juan’s and one time ended up 15 feet above low tide, beached on the rock in Fisherman’s Harbor. After all the national and local (even in the Guardian) publicity, they got their boat nicknamed “Ride A Rock” from “Ride a Wake” – maybe Bob should have been more “awake”.
Later, they bought a 32-foot Uniflite. This is the type of boat that patrolled the rivers din Vietnam. They took this up Canada, and to Alaska several times. Today, his grandson Bruce enjoys the boat. Dee died in 2012. Bob continued to live in their dream retirement home.
Bob is survived by his daughter, Diane; grandson, Bruce; grandsons, Dave and Chase; granddaughter, Stephanie; great-granddaughters Paige and Sydney; and great-grandson, Elliot. Two other great-grandchildren preceded Bob in death, Thomas, and Brande Mae.