Blog post

In Memory of Robert “Bob” Schoeppner
June 8, 1931 - June 2, 2017

Today we celebrate the memory of Robert “Bob” Schoeppner, a beloved member of the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District’s scientific staff. Bob worked for the San Mateo County Mosquito Abatement District (now the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District) from 1964 to 1997 (a total of 33 years).  During that time, he contributed profoundly to the control of mosquitoes and the protection of public health. Bob was instrumental in developing the Costal Region’s Continuing Education Program (one of the best in California), as well as the District’s encephalitis surveillance program, the yellow jacket control research operation, and the San Mateo County Africanized honeybee task force.

Bob was initially hired in 1964 to do research on biting gnats, but quickly proved himself a capable biologist, contributing to the development of a sticky trap that provided a needed tool for biting gnat population studies. By 1967, Bob had been promoted to the Resident Biologist position (later renamed to Vector Ecologist), but still continued to contribute to the understanding and control of biting gnats in San Mateo County. Bob developed strong relationships with his coworkers and colleauges at other districts.  He is remembered fondly and with great respect by his peers. He was known for his generosity and kindness, as well as his skill as an entomologist.  Bob enjoyed teaching others about science and California history.

During his life, Bob was a prolific scientific writer, contributing works on both the biology of biting gnats and the efficacy of mosquito treatments. Most notably, in 1970, Bob in collaboration with Richard Whitsel (the senior Resident Biologist at the District), published their findings on methods to collect and care for viable eggs from biting gnats. In 1986, he published a manuscript detailing the ability of Aedes squamiger and Aedes increpitus to survive without contact with the surface air which explained the failure to control these species and led to the improved methods we still use today.

Considered a renaissance man by many, Bob was a proud veteran and a member of E. Clampus Vitus (dedicated to preserving the heritage of the American west), the California Historical Society, and many other community organizations. He had a particular fascination with and passion for antique clocks and spent many hours working with model trains. He is survived by his two nieces, Nancy and Susie, as well as numerous friends. His memory and his legacy of scientific achievements live on and we would like to personally thank him for the great contributions he gave to the district and the residents of San Mateo County over the course of his professional life.

A funeral service for Bob will be held at 10:00 am, Friday, June 9 2017 at Crosby – N Gray & Co. Funeral Home, 2 Park rd. Burlingame, followed by interment with Military Honors at Skylawn Memorial Park.