Robert “Bob” McAllister, Chula Vista Mayor, 1960-61 and 1966-67

Robert Robinson McAllister is the oldest living Chula Vista Mayor, having served two terms, 1960-61 and 1966-67. He was elected to three terms on the City Council, 1958-70. He was born in Monroe City, Missouri, in 1922, attended Notre Dame University and graduated from the New England Institute, a school for morticians. He served in the U. S. Navy during World War II as a pharmacist's mate and saw action in the Solomon Islands.

Bob married Dorothy Schofield in Newport, RI, in April 1945. They started their family while Bob worked as a funeral director. Sons Robert McAllister, II, was born in 1946 and Thomas was born in 1947. Dorothy suggested they visit her parents, Leonard and Nellie Schofield, who had moved to Chula Vista after the war. Leonard Schofield was a toolmaker with the Navy in Portsmouth, NH, shipyard and then took a job at North Island in San Diego in 1948.

 

With housing in short supply, the Schofields lived in a mobile home. Bob and Dorothy arrived to visit on February 1, 1950 and they decided to stay in Chula Vista, ultimately buying a house on Dennis Avenue. Robert worked with the mortuary at Greenwood Cemetery in San Diego until 1955 when he opened the McAllister Mortuary in the orchard house he bought on Third Avenue. The house was built by Frances Pendergast about 1891, sold to future Chula Vista Mayor George Geyer in 1903, was inherited by Mayor Geyer’s daughter Margaret Denee, who sold the house in 1951 to Louis Lombardi, who tried to use it for a restaurant but failed. Mr. Lombardi sold the house to Bob McAllister who lived upstairs and ran the mortuary downstairs.

Bob sold his mortuary business in 1966 and moved to a house on Cuyamaca Avenue. The house on Third Avenue was sold to the City in 1971. It became the Our House center for troubled teens until it was demolished in the late 1970s for an office building.

Robert McAllister was active in the community since moving to Chula Vista in 1950. He attended St. Rose of Lima Church with his wife Dorothy, who worked in the Chula Vista Elementary School District Library, his two sons and two daughters, Sherrie and Laurie.

In 1956, Robert was named the Outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Chula Vista Jaycees. He won his first four-year term in the City Council April 1958, and was appointed mayor for a one-year term in April 1960.

One of Bob’s great disappointments was the closing of the Chula Vista Lawn Bowling Field that he persuaded the city to build in General Roca Park (now Eucalyptus Park) in 1967. His father-in-law Len Schofield was the national champion in 1957 and became president of the local lawn bowlers association. For about five years, it was open every afternoon and any Chula Vista resident could bowl for free. After Bob left the Council, the field was closed and replaced with a playground.

Bob continued supporting the Boy Scouts, serving for many years as District Chairman. Now a resident of Chula Vista’s California Veterans Home, Bob remembers his adventure organizing a wagon train for 200 Boy Scouts to travel by horse and buggy from Chula Vista to a camp near Santa Isabel. They almost made it, but the night before the last day the boys got soaked in a rainstorm and Bob had to call parents to take them home.

Mayor McAllister considered a sewer partnership and Port District his greatest accomplishments in the first term. Chula Vista had out-grown its old sewer treatment plant at the foot of J Street, and needed to build many miles of new sewer lines to the areas east and south that were being annexed from the county to Chula Vista. Mayor McAllister proposed that the City join San Diego's Metropolitan Sewage System to provide new sewer lines and treat waste water at a new plant in Point Loma rather than dump it into the bay.

In 1961, Mayor McAllister invited the mayors of cities on San Diego Bay to a meeting where he proposed a plan to create a unified port district. A committee met every week for 18 months, most of the time at the Hotel del Coronado. State representative Jim Mills introduced a bill in the state legislature that was passed and signed by Gov. Brown in December 1962. Until then, the City Council opposed creating the Port District, and Bob was the only Councilmember supporting it. In March 1963, the Council changed its mind and joined the District, signing over its tidelands, and appointing James Glasgow, owner of the Chula Vista Florist Shop, as its first port district commissioner.


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