Sibilia was hired by publisher Dean Lesher of the then “Green Sheet” in 1966 where his photojournalism career began. He helped daily involvement in the growth and development of the Contra Costa Times from a local newspaper to one of national status. He not only oversaw the photography department but he wrote columns, served as a spokesman to academic journalism departments and was always the Times’ “Man on the street.” He was at the Times until 1985 when he moved over to the sister paper, West County Times, and finished his career at the Times in 1992 before it was sold to Knight-Ridder.
He hired Times photographer Dan Rosenstrauch 36 years ago who remembered, “He hired me while I was working at a gas station. He was a great man and a great friend.”
Former Times reporter Russ Yaro said “Bob was bigger than life. When I started at the Times he basically ran the joint. We just followed in his wake. He was one of the people who made me love the newspaper business.” Another reporter Kathy Phillips said, “Bob was a combination of genius and crazy.”
He started his professional photography career as a fashion photographer in the studios at Macy’s department store in Union Square in San Francisco.
Earning an athletic football scholarship at the University of Utah, he took interest in alpine skiing, photography and journalism. He then serviced the U.S. Army Signal Corp where he honed his skills in still and film photography. He studied photography at the California College of Fine Arts studying under Ansel Adams and Pirkle Jones.
He also worked on other projects including television and documentary film making. Some of these works include an award he received by a short film-documentary guild for his work on a documentary of the inaugural Special Olympics at Diablo Valley College. He was commissioned by the Swiss government’s bureau of travel to produce a documentary on their national end of winter festival. He produced several ski-travel related films for the Canadian government, The State of Idaho, John Denver’s Celebrity Pro-Am and the Merv Griffin Show. He also wrote a ski column, shot film of the Raiders football games for NFL Films and was an extra in movies.
He is survived by his two sons, Chad and Robert; his brother Joseph and first wife, JoAnn.
A “Celebration of Bob Sibilia’s Life” will be held on Sunday, January 30 at 11:30 am. Please contact Chad Sibilia if you plan on attending.
301 N. San Carlos Drive
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
To send any condolences to the family, please contact,
1637 Jenna Place
Santa Rosa, Ca 95403