Robert Dantzler 2/16/1937 -3/15/2024

I am sending this notification of Bob Dantzler’s passing from Laury Fischer.  

Laury and I were hired in the same year.  Bob’s office was next to mine.  I was lucky to see the kind, lovely, joyful man who was my colleague.  Another friend who will be missed.

If you want to share any thoughts about Bob, you can send them to me and I will forward them to Karen Castle.  She uploads these tributes to the DVCRA website:

Nancy Zink

DVCRA Liaison


Hi Everyone,

I’m sorry to report that our colleague and friend, Bob Dantzler, passed away in San Francisco on March 15, 2024.

I remember Bob so well from when I was hired at DVC in 1991; he was part of a welcoming group in the English Department that made me feel I was landing in a new home – and that turned out to be the case; I found a real home in our department. So many of us did. And Bob, like so many of the well-established colleagues in the department, was willing to mentor as well as be mentored by those of us who were nearly hired.

(note: Since there are two Bobs in this section, I am using their last names. Apologies if it sounds strange). In a recent conversation, Bob Martincich, Dantzler’s colleague and friend of 57 years, told me that in 1967, he was asked to be Dantzler’s mentor in a UC Berkeley program that placed teachers getting their teaching credential into community college classrooms: “Dantzler was exemplary right from the start. He was like a fledgling testing his wings. And boy could he fly.”

Dantzler then spent a year teaching at San Quentin Prison before being hired full-time at DVC where he remained and contributed mightily to the good reputation of the English Department. 

With great glee, Martincich recalled Dantzler inviting his friends in the department to his house in Benicia, where he dug a large hole, filled it with heated rocks, and covered a whole pig in seaweed for 24 hours. When the guests arrived the next day, Dantzler uncovered the surprise main course. And they shared one of the great meals of their lives.

Clark Sturges remained friends with Bob (all Dantzler from now on) from the time Bob was hired at DVC in 1969 (and past his retirement in in 1996), and Clark remembers how beloved Bob was by his students as well as for his work creating so many of the literature courses that our department still offers today. Clark also recalls with so much joy the sailing trip they took together through the Panama Canal. 

At this point, I do not have more information but will pass along anything that comes this way.

If anyone has memories about Bob to share with this group (mostly of retired English Department members), feel free to do so in this space.  I think everyone would love to read your thoughts; I know I would.

Sorry to bring you this bad news; I hope you all are well.


I served with Bobby on the Scholarship Committee. He was kind, fair and so empathetic to student stories. He brought thoughtful compassion to our decisions. I admired that about him. May he rest peacefully.
Lupe Dannels

Bob and Me – by Jim Jacobs

When I was hired in 1976 to head the DVC Journalism Department, I was fortunate to rent a nice apartment in Berkeley when hardly any were available. Bob Dantzler immediately befriended me. He (and Loni, his wife) invited me to my first holiday dinners in Berkeley. Bob and I also spent many a Monday evening at his Shattuck Ave. house watching Monday Night Football, and we commuted together,both ways, chatting about everything from sports to politics to teaching and to ‘bete noir,’ an expression foreign to me, as was most everything in Berkeley,California, where many instructors earned their MA degrees and also chose to live after being hired at DVC.

A plebeian with many rough edges, most recently from W. Va. where I’d been editor of a rural weekly newspaper, I also learned that screw-top wine bottles(Riunite was my favorite back east) were ‘for dessert.’ What a knucklehead I was. But Bob was so polite when he placed my brown-bag gift bottle for a Division party alongside a dozen uncorked bottles from foreign places like Napa and Sonoma. Bob and Loni also treated me to my first meal at Chez Panisse.”Why are you bringing your own bottles of wine,” I asked,dumbfounded.

In 1979,Bob and Loni also helped me buy my first and only house, in southwest Berkeley,a predominantly Black working-class neighborhood where I felt comfortable because it reminded me of the neighborhoods where I grew up in New York. They used their own realtor and co-signed the loan when interest rates were15 ¾ per cent. When I complained that I’d never be able to travel again, they told me to relax, that my $1,000/month mortgage rate would comedown eventually and I’d be able to re-fi. They were right.

During our many conversations, I learned about his growing up in Milwaukee, his Yale and Cal educations, his trip to Kenya where he taught and his attempt to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro before altitude sickness halted him, his teaching gig at San Quentin, and how on the rugby teams he played, coaches weren’t needed because”everyone knew how to play the game.”

When tense and argumentative Division meetings turned downright vitriolic, Bob explained the warring issues and personalities to me. I was so shocked thathighly educated people could create such a divisive culture. When I segued from Journalism to the English Dept. to teach comp and reading, he helped me put together lesson plans, advised which basic texts I should use,and how the first draft/revision method of evaluating student essays worked.

Bob’s favorite non-division activity was the DVC Scholarship Fund. He served on the committee for many years and, at the annual Spring ceremony, loved presenting scholarships to deserving students.

When he and Loni moved to Benicia and later to San Francisco after he retired and after I got married, our friendship changed dramatically. But I never forgot his kindness to a raw rookie instructor and colleague who preferred pickups to Volvos, kick-boxing to tennis, Jimmy Breslin to Isak Dinesen, and Riunite redto fumè blanc.

From Lynn MacMichael

I shared the BLOC teaching experience with Bob, Barbara Baldwin, Susie [Goldstein], and Monroe [Patermack] for three years and loved every minute of it. Bob was a joy to be with, and Howard and I had the great pleasure of joining him and his family and friends in France for his daughter’s wedding. It was such a pleasure to perform the ceremony for them and share several days on the wonderful Ille Aux Moines. We have stayed in touch over all of these years and I am going to miss both he and Loni very much. Bob and Loni were the most generous and kind people we know, and we felt so blessed in knowing them.