Bob Barbieri, of Redwood Oil Co., dies at 76

Bob Barbieri, a key member of the gasoline sales and distribution family that built Redwood Oil Co. into one of Sonoma County’s largest businesses, died July 13 at age 76.

Barbieri and partner Peter Van Alyea at one point owned nearly 20 Chevron stations on the North Coast, plus four commercial, or cardlock, fueling stations, and propane and gasoline delivery services.

“He knew how to work,” said son Nick Barbieri of Ukiah, who owns Redwood Coast Fuels, a piece of his father’s former company. The other major components are owned by Van Alyea and a Southern California firm.

Bob Barbieri, who, like Van Alyea, also grew wine grapes, retired from the fuel business in 2009. His death at a care home followed a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

“He was man of high integrity,” said daughter Brenda Kisling of Santa Rosa. “He also very generous to people.”

When Bob Barbieri wasn’t working, which wasn’t often, he enjoyed water skiing, building and remodeling homes, travel and fine, old cars.

He was born at Santa Rosa’s former Tanner Hospital to Juliette and Peter Barbieri. The child wasn’t yet in long pants when, in 1941, his father began delivering gas for Mobil Oil. Ten years later, Peter Barbieri founded the fuel distribution service that was a precursor to Redwood Oil Co.

Young Bob Barbieri was an athletic sort. At Healdsburg High School, he competed in football and track, and was elected as Yell Leader. He also commenced falling in love with classmate and future wife Laurie Brigandi.

Daughter Kisling said her dad and some friends, all lovers of Detroit steel, formed a car club and as part of it performed community service.

Following graduation in 1956, Barbieri studied for a time at Santa Rosa Junior College and then briefly worked for a padlock company in San Francisco before beginning to drive a truck for his father, delivering gasoline and oil to farmers, ranchers and service stations.

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