Bob Chrisman was born in Alhambra, Calif., on April 23, 1946, to Hazel and Lloyd Chrisman. Hazel and Lloyd did not remain together, and Hazel met and married George Steele. George raised Bob as his son, and Bob was known as Bob Steele through high school. One of Bob and George’s favorite things to do was to go fishing at Rock Creek and all the lakes in Mammoth. Many weeks were spent camping at Tom’s Place. They also loved going to the river in Parker, Ariz., boating and waterskiing. Bob always said his times with George were the best. In high school George introduced Bob to his father Lloyd and the Chrisman family. They built him a race car, and it was at that time he took the Chrisman name.
While in high school, Bob met his first wife Marilyn. They got married and had three beautiful children, Carey, Kelly and Shelby. Bob didn’t continue in racing. Instead, he became a Deputy Sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, working a variety of assignments, his favorite station being Malibu. Bob and Marilyn divorced, and Bob met and married his soul mate Barbara in September 1982. Bob had a lifelong dream of becoming a helicopter pilot, which he accomplished while working for the sheriff’s department. He returned to Malibu station as a pilot and worked there until his retirement.
Upon retiring, Bob and Barbara moved to Washington state. He could not give up his love of flying so he found a variety of new flying adventures. He worked with the Bureau of Land Management capturing and tagging elk and fought forest fires and reseeded the burned areas. Eventually, Bob and Barbara moved to Lake Havasu City. He tried to retire once again, but flying got him again. He took on what he said was the scariest job he ever did – flying up to live wires with a lineman to repair lines for power companies. This was so power didn’t have to be shut down. This job did not last long, as the live wires were too much! Bob entered the Air Medical Transport business, which was very rewarding for him, saving lives and such.
Bob finally retired in 2004, and he and Barbara started enjoying their time together and bought a boat which they spent time on in Lake Havasu. Eventually they left Lake Havasu and built a home in Lake Isabella and spent 12 years there. Bob was always busy doing something – Lake Patrol, working on the house and eventually being able to achieve another life goal of owning and racing his own car. Just months after finishing his first race, Bob fell ill and passed away on June 9.
Bob is survived by his loving wife, Barbara, of 35 years, and his children, Carey, Kelly, and Shelby. He also leaves behind seven grandchildren – Lance II, Chasen, Cage, Chance, Pryce, Isabella and Caden. His love of racing and fishing live on through his children and grandchildren. He will be missed. The Celebration of Life will be held July 22, at the NHRA Museum.