Robert Holland Cleveland

February 27, 1936 - August 30, 2021 


Cleveland, known as Bob, passed away peacefully in his home in Kala Point surrounded by his loving wife and daughter on Aug. 30, 2021, at the age of 85 after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

Bob was born on Feb. 27, 1936, the first child of Robert and Margaret Cleveland, in New York City, and raised in Upper Ridgewood, New Jersey. After graduating from Ridgewood High School in 1954, he received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson University in 1959; served in the U.S. Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey; and earned an MBA from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1963.

After working for a consulting firm outside of Washington, D.C., he worked for Celanese Corporation in New York City, where he met his future wife, Helen Wilkins, during the 1966 New York City Transit strike when they walked from their office to their apartments. By the end of the 13-day strike, the two were a couple.

They married on April 22, 1967, in her hometown of Bristol, England, and honeymooned in Italy, Switzerland, and Portugal, the first of their many travels together. The newlyweds emigrated to Australia, Sydney, and then Perth, where his daughter, Kelsey, was born and then spent two years working in Singapore. The family settled in Chaska, Minnesota, where he worked in sales and marketing for 18 years at Osmonics, Inc. and belonged to the local Rotary Club.

After his retirement in 1995, Bob and Helen relocated to Port Townsend, where he bloomed like his award-winning rhododendrons. The nature lover hiked in the nearby Olympic Mountains or on remote Pacific Northwest beaches, camped with Helen in their VW camper, and fly fished on local lakes or on his annual trips to remote lakes in British Columbia or Montana. The avid gardener had a strong interest in native plants and flowers. Over the years, Bob served his community as an usher at Centrum music events for 20-plus years, a docent at the Marine Science Center, a beach docent for the Nature Conservancy’s Foulweather Bluff Preserve, and took part in Jefferson County Land Trust work parties.

Robert leaves behind his best friend, wife of 54 years, travel companion, and true love of his life, Helen. He is survived by his loving daughter, Kelsey Cleveland, and her husband, Dan Bosshardt; his beloved grandson, Reed; and his two sisters, Joan Boxell and Barbara Cleveland; and many dear friends.

A celebration of life will be announced and held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Hospice Foundation for Jefferson Healthcare, or to End of Life Washington.


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