In June, 2009 we lost two lions in our local legal community. Bruce Bunker and Bob Self were well respected as lawyers, recognized as consummate gentlemen, and admired as strong family men. Both were Past Presidents of the Kern County Bar Association, both were honored with the KCBA’s most prestigious award -- the Bench and Bar Award -- both began their legal careers working for the late Joe Wooldridge, both were married to women they met in college, and both raised three lovely daughters. In addition to being admired by the entire community, Bruce Bunker and Bob Self respected each other as attorneys and as men.
Bob Self was a gentleman and a scholar. He was also a fine athlete, who played football and ran track in high school and college, and played competitive tennis almost until the end of his life. Bob Self grew up in Bakersfield, graduating from Bakersfield High School. He married his wife of 56 years, Margaret, in June of 1953.
Bob graduated from UCLA and then spent two years on active duty in the Navy, patrolling the waters of Taiwan and China. After being discharged from active duty as a Lieutenant, he studied law at Boalt Hall in Berkeley.
Bob and Margaret returned to Bakersfield with their first born, Susan. Bob went to work for Young, Wooldridge & Paulden, and within a year the name of the firm was Young, Wooldridge, Paulden & Self. For many years the license plate on Bob’s car read “And Self.” Bob spent 42 years in the same firm, adding associates and partners through the years, before he retired in 2002. He practiced business law and civil litigation
For many years Bob and Margaret enjoyed hosting tennis matches with friends and colleagues on their home tennis court. Bob also enjoyed hunting, inviting colleagues and clients to hunt quail and squirrels in Caliente.
In addition to his work for the Kern County Bar Association, Bob Self served on numerous community boards, including the Bakersfield College Foundation. Hannah Egland, Donor Relations Coordinator with the Bakersfield College Foundation, recalls fondly when the board discovered Bob had a particular affection for chocolate chip cookies. At the end of the October 2006 meeting then Board Chair Rick Kreiser asked if there was any new or old business. Bob commented that there were no chocolate chip cookies on the cookie tray and made a motion that in the future they would be mandatory. There was a moment of silence before Mr. Kreiser said, “there is a motion on the floor, do I have a second?” From then on chocolate chip cookies have been “mandatory” at all Bakersfield College Foundation Board meetings.
Bob Self will be missed by the legal community, and most especially by his family, wife Margaret and daughters Susan, Linda, and Lisa and their families.
by Susan M. Gill
This article was originally printed in the September 2009 edition of the Res Ipsa Loquitur.
The Bakersfield Californian obituary for Bob Self can be found here.