Bob Maynard, resident of Orcas Island and an important figure in western National Parks, the ski industry and environmental education, died in his sleep on Orcas on Nov. 12, 2020.
He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy and is survived by his daughters Katy and Suzy and his grandchildren Jess and Martin.
Bob was born in Oakland, California, the third of four brothers. He was introduced to the wilderness by his scoutmaster, then district attorney of Alameda County and later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: Earl Warren. He got a summer job in Yosemite Valley at 16 and met Nancy Taylor, his future wife and the love of his life.
Bob spent a year in the Navy just as the war ended, and he and Nancy tried college on his return. But Yosemite called and they married at 21, moving into a cabin on the property of Virginia and Ansel Adams, long-time family friends of Nancy’s.
For the next 24 years, Bob rose through the ranks of the Curry Company in Yosemite. Later as manager of Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel, Bob was awed to host such guests as President John F. Kennedy and the shah of Iran. But in Yosemite what he was most proud of was closing some park roads to cars, bringing in propane shuttlebuses and starting the Yosemite Mountaineering School and the Yosemite Institute of environmental education.
He spent a short time managing Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park and later served as Assistant Director of the National Park Service, overseeing park concessions. After his boss was booted for Watergate, Bob became CEO of a lagging Keystone Ski Area in Colorado, turning it into one of the gems of the ski business.
He and Nancy also kept a place in Santa Fe, where Nancy could launch her photographic trips around the west. In the mid ‘80s, Robert Redford tapped him to help transform Sundance into the all-season resort it has become. He ended his working career as chairman of Aspen Ski Co., with its four ski mountains, several lodges and hotels and the Aspen Institute. Bob transformed the company culture to decentralize, to focus on the customer’s experience and to help employees be treated fairly. Bob was elected to the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 1993.
Nancy and Bob moved to Orcas Island on retirement in 1996 to be on the ocean again, first at Grindstone Harbor and finally West Sound. On their many trips, Bob followed Nancy around the world while she honed her photography craft. He wowed the grandkids with his boating skills and befriended many on the island.
After Nancy passed on in 2014, Bob’s eyes drooped a little sadder, but he kept his positive spirit among his many friends on the island and far beyond. He will be missed, as will his reminder to “Be of good cheer.”