To friends, family, and those who love him, John Robert Brandeberry was better known as Bob. On September 18, 1949 he was born in Puerto Rico, spending the first two years of his life with his parents who were serving as Mennonite missionaries. In 1952 the Brandeberry family moved back to the family farm in Middlebury, Indiana.
From a young age, Bob had an interest in business. In 1956, as a first grader, he brought home several goslings, which would eventually evolve into a hatching business that specialized in White Embden geese and became a successful business for his parents. This was the beginning of a streak that would last throughout his life.
Bob also loved nature.
First, there was his lifelong love for fishing that he shared with his father. They would fish together throughout the midwest and eventually California, Costa Rica and Canada.
And, embedded within his love for nature was a love for cultivation and agriculture. In 1968, after graduating from high school, he planted 40 black walnut trees in the middle portion of the family farm, then walked amongst them with pride in cultivating the land. Those trees stand tall and beautiful still to this day.
After graduating with a double major in business and biology in 1973, and earning his Masters in 1975, Bob worked in Indianapolis as a corporate accountant, before eventually escaping the snow and ice of Indiana to head out west first landing in Bakersfield in 1980. In the years to come Bob would open his house to his parents from October - February so they’d have a warm escape to wait out the Indiana winter. In 1988 Bob began working at Gallo Wines in Modesto, CA where he would work for the remainder of his career as an accountant.
During this time he also bought a house on an almond orchard in Turlock, which brought together many of Bob’s biggest loves and interests. It was a symbolic return to that farm in Indiana where he grew up and planted 40 walnut trees. But now it was almonds. And this new venture provided him with his own business, rooted in the earth, which gave him a sense of satisfaction and pride. Throughout the rest of his life he would spend time working in the orchard, spraying for weeds, raising orchard bees, planting trees, pruning trees, and simply walking amongst them. His favorite time of year was between February and March when the trees would bloom, and then blanket the ground in valley snow.
The almond “ranch” as he would call it, became a central part in not just Bob’s life, but also the lives of the people around him. In 2002, after his father fell and suffered a hairline break in his leg, Bob brought him to the ranch to live with him. His sister told him that taking care of dad would completely take over his life, and he told her it was the season for that. It was a completely new side of her brother. He would spend the next three years taking care of his father often sleeping on a mat next to his father’s bed so he was there when he needed him. In the morning he would commute to work at Gallo, while also managing the almond ranch. He often described this as a wonderful time in his life.
In the Spring of 2005, his parents passed away within one month of each other. Yet, it was still the season of bloom, and Bob’s life was about to bloom again, as he connected with a lady on Whidbey Island..
In 2008, Wendy Lanman would move to the ranch and they would marry. It was the beginning of a wonderful adventure for both of them. They would travel together to Egypt, Italy, Japan, and China. They even floated the Grand Canyon. At home they would tend the orchard together. And with her, Wendy also brought her three children into Bob’s life and again he grew. New traditions were born.
Each Thanksgiving the family would rendezvous at the almond ranch, then caravan to Yosemite Valley to camp in the cool Fall air. Bob would bring the firewood and wine, or Valley Juice as he liked to call it.
One Christmas at the ranch he told his new step children, “Marrying your mother wasn’t just about her. It was the full package” suggesting gratitude for having them in his life. He would attend each of their weddings, and celebrate their accomplishments as if they were his own children.
Bob was a wonderful host. You could always expect a celebration upon arrival to his home. No matter how late at night, Bob would be awake to welcome you. He would pop a bottle of champagne and toast to your safe arrival.
On April 16,2022 John Robert Brandeberry passed away at home with Wendy at his side, at a place he loved, and had welcomed so many others into his life. He is survived and will be deeply missed by his wife Wendy Lanman, two sisters Julia (Ron) Weaver, Jacque (Len) Wilson and two nieces. Also three step children: Jason (Nadia) Lanman, Tawna (Tom) Morgan, and Jon (Rachel) Lanman.
There will be a memorial service honoring Bob on May 23rd, 2022 at Good Shepherd Lutheran church in Turlock at 11:00 am.