Robert (Bob) Jolly was born in Canoga Park, California, to Hubert and Margarett (Pinson) Jolly. The family moved to Santa Barbara when he was very young. There he attended public schools, where his mother was a teacher. At age 18, he was drafted into the army and served from 1944-46. He was in the Philippines when World War II ended.
After his discharge, he returned to Santa Barbara and attended Santa Barbara College, which became a campus of the University of California while he was a student. During his years there he helped organize an interracial fraternity. He received a Master's degree in English at the University of North Carolina, then started his teaching career, which included secondary schools in Santa Barbara and Oakland, California and overseas in Turkey and Greece. It was while teaching at Robert College in Istanbul that he met Connie Shepard. They married in 1957 and had three children, Margarett, Paul, and Catherine. The family lived in Oakland, from 1962 until 2012 when Bob and Connie moved to Grand Lake Gardens, a retirement community near Lake Merritt in Oakland.
Bob and Connie joined Berkeley Monthly Meeting, Berkeley, CA on November 15, 1964. During the next half-century he served on many meeting committees. During the Vietnam War Bob was a draft counselor, offered by Berkeley Meeting, and participated in peace demonstrations and civil rights marches. He went as a representative of the Meeting to Memphis to support the garbage workers' strike shortly before the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Bob and Connie were among the founders of the East Bay chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
After Bob retired from teaching in 1986, he volunteered with the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO), which later became the GI Rights Project of the American Friends Service Committee. The purpose was to support men and women in their efforts to leave the military with honorary discharge before their term was complete. He counseled them on a number of issues including family hardship, physical and mental health, AWOL soldiers who wanted to return and get an honorable discharge, people who had enlisted at a young age but then realized, once they saw combat, that they could not participate in the killing.
Bob’s interests included travel, reading, concerns for peace and justice, music, running, hiking, and swimming. He was an active volunteer with the East Bay Regional Parks Hiking Patrol. A bench in Bob’s name “The Jolly Bench” is situated at the top of the Seaview Trail in Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley, CA.
Bob passed away March 20, 2016 at his home in Oakland CA. He is survived by his wife Connie, their children: Margarett who lives in NewYork, Paul in Washington, D.C. and Catherine in Oakland, grandson Travis Jolly and his wife Ariella, Denver, Colorado, and two daughters-in-law, Leslie Feldman and Andrea Baddell.