Honoring Robert “Bob” Mathena and reflecting on all the “Bobs” in the TL

Photo taken by Kathy Looper, going out for Christmas dinner in 2018.

Photo taken by Kathy Looper, going out for Christmas dinner in 2018.


Honoring the life of 94-year-old Cadillac Hotel resident, Bob.

We wanted to share along the below message from the Cadillac Hotel’s Facebook page regarding the passing of Bob. TLCBD’s previous interim executive director, Steve Gibson, would often refer to a conversation he had with Kathy Looper, cofounder of the historic Cadillac Hotel, where she urged him to think about the “Bobs in the Tenderloin,” the elderly folks deserving of an improved quality of life who were just trying to live their days. Bob lived his last days recently, just shy of 94 years, passing as he lived, “quietly with no fuss,” according to Looper.

“What about Bob?” has become a kind of mantra for the staff at TLCBD. When we wrestle with issues, when we think about working toward a healthier neighborhood, we ask, “What about Bob?” Here's a link to an editorial Steve wrote for TL Talk. Bob continues to inspire us in our work. A memorial is planned at the Cadillac Hotel on Friday February 15th, at 11am.

Here is the message from the Cadillac Hotel:

Many of you who have been on the Tenderloin Tours with Del Seymour or through the Tenderloin Museum have met or know of Mr. Robert Mathena. Bob lived in the Cadillac Hotel since 1966. He was a favorite of everyone who met him. His wit was legendary - his answer to the question “how is it that you’ve lived at the Cadillac for so long?” was “I checked in and forgot to check out!”. Bob died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday morning, two months shy of his 94th birthday. We all miss him terribly.

We are having a memorial service for Bob on February 15th, 11:00 am at the Cadillac. Please come and share your memories of Bob and celebrate a good man’s life with us!