Robert Cheney was always the first one to arrive to work at KWJ Engineering Inc. in Newark.
He’d greet his co-workers good morning, open doors for them and have enlightening conversations with them as early as 6 a.m.
But that all changed on January 18.
The 69-year-old Pleasanton resident never returned to work after his at the intersection of Mowry Avenue and Cherry Street.
He was killed instantly. And the two surviving occupants of the other vehicle in connection to his death.
In the days following his passing, silence and solemnity surrounded the office. Cheney’s vacant desk served as a constant reminder of the life that was lost in such an untimely way.
For more than 25 years, Cheney had served the company as an electrical engineer, working directly under KWJ Engineering, Inc. founder Ken Johnson,
Over the years, Cheney contributed to the many lifesaving gas detection and safety products built by KWJ. Alongside Johnson, Cheney designed and built products that improved safety at petrochemical plants and monitored toxic gases in landfills.
“The outstanding thing about him was he knew something about everything. He had an influence on everything we produced at KWJ for the duration of his time here. He was always agreeable and it was unusual to ever see him angry,” said Johnson.
CEO Joseph Stetter added, “Mr. Cheney's work touched virtually all of our products and he personally befriended all of his coworkers. He was a soft-spoken, but steadfast colleague to everyone at KWJ and he will be missed tremendously.”
Cheney was viewed as a valuable asset to the KWJ community. He was also regarded as a generous, caring man and a wonderful friend.
“We’re going to miss him a lot, we already do and we will always remember him,” Sara Cruz said.
Despite living in Pleasanton, Cheney was known to be the first employee in the office. He’d arrive around 6 a.m. every morning.
“Bob was always really nice. He was the first person to say good morning to you when you got to work. Even though I know he has passed on, I still peek my head around the corner and expect to see him here,” said Anna Cruz.
Pamela Stetter remembered him as the “pace setter for the firm.”
“He was always the first one at the office. You could count on Bob to open the back door,” Stetter said. “He always stayed focused on his projects but was open to questions at any time. You could go to him for professional or personal advice and he would counsel you with a steadfast spirit of caring. He was a gentle man with a giving nature.”
Cheney also took a serious interest in the younger interns and part-time student workers that came to work over winter holidays and during the summer. He was eager to influence them in a positive way and stressed the importance of a college education.
“He and I became very close, and he also made an impression on my son Mike. He got Mike interested in technology. Mike came in to work with me the first summer we lived out in California, and since Bob worked that crazy early schedule he offered to give Mike a ride back to Pleasanton every afternoon for football practice,” said Mel Findlay.
Cheney was also known for his intelligence and supportiveness.
“Bob knew a lot about many things. He was very generous with what he knew and happy to share, he was a very kind man,” said Andrea Springsteen.
Carlos Martinez added, “We need more people like him in this world, he is going to be missed.”
According to Legacy.com, Cheney was "preceded in death by his parents, Robert E. and Wanda Cheney of Conroe,TX. Bob is survived by his wife, Tamara Cheney; daughter Angela and son-in-law Keith Blice of Montgomery, TX; son Robert E. "Eddy" Cheney of Vinton, LA; daughter Wendy and son-in-law Reed Breaux of Seabrook, TX; daughter Lauren Cheney; and son Cameron Cheney; grandchildren Derick Moore; Eric Breaux; Madison Blice; Ashton Blice; Jonathan Breaux; and 3 great-grandchildren. Bob's siblings Cheryl Heath, Viola Cheney, Eddy Cheney, Becky Dahl and Joe Cheney." Read more on legacy.com.
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