Remembering Robert Denton, feral-cat-loving contractor given to wry philosophical musings

Denton, 88, was an unwavering supporter of his wife Colette’s artistic career. He died in the Berkeley Hills home he designed and built.

Robert Travis Denton. Credit: Colette Denton

Born on Sept. 22, 1933, the son of William Stewart Denton and Charlotte Martling Travis, a New York state high school high-jump champion and graduate of Syracuse University, Robert Travis Denton, 88, died on Jan. 27 in the beautiful Berkeley Hills home he’d designed and then built.

Gifted — and trusted! — Bay Area contractor, lover of cats and ravens, forever wryly musing on issues in philosophy and Buddhism, Bob was an unwavering supporter of his wife Colette’s remarkable career as cloisonné artist and painter.

Long interested in curating the arts, he was a pioneering American champion of the work of Dutch artist M.C. Escher. Among Bob’s qualities were a lifelong willingness to learn from others and lack of any need to self-promote, as well as the gift of empowering those who worked with or for him.

Friends will remember Bob sailing his small boat on the bay; or again rereading Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha; or slabbing redwood burl on Jenner Beach; or feeding and doctoring feral cats at his workshop. Or, still another time, sharing a piece of muffin with a one-legged crow at the French Hotel.

He is survived by his wife, Colette Denton.