Sorrow and loss pinched hundreds of faces at the hilltop service at Quyle’s ranch, the property where Robbie Mast grew up, but there was something else there.
Principal of Avery Middle School, Michael Chimente, reminded us of his leadership role, as honor student, class president as a sixth grader and a young high school student who applied to be Principal at Bret Harte High School.
The gang of six friends he grew up with helped us relish the humor, the mischief, the love of nature, beauty and friendship he brought into focus for them. Robbie liked to ride a bike, but he wanted to build bikes and ride around the world. It took him twenty-two months from New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Italy, France and England. As the son of wine makers, he worked in vineyards wherever he went; volunteered at a self-sustaining farm and spiritual center. He touched people; made friends; took lessons home with him.
Ryan Anderson and Bryan Hitchcock, two older friends, remarked how Robbie came to them and said he’d signed himself out of Gym in High School. He preferred hiking and biking and camping and nature. They convinced Bret Harte that he had engaged in private Boxing lessons in place of Gym and he was allowed to graduate with his class. Robbie hungered to invent, to explore, to challenge himself, to enjoy life with humor. He was an artist, an actor, a story-teller. Wise beyond his years, he made every second of his life meaningful. Each speaker revealed another dimension to Robbie’s life. In his own words, from eighth grade, “Life is a journey…judge not…help those less fortunate…stop and smell the roses…never be content…question and wonder…people are good…love is the strongest force in the universe…life goes fast…live like every day was your last…
If you see a shining star never let it fade away.