With a great sense of loss, we announce that Robert Harris Shuman passed away at the age of 29 on Monday January 24, 2022.
Robert was born on August 17, 1992, in St. Louis, MO. He grew up in La Cañada Flintridge, graduating from LCHS in 2010.
Robert received his B.A. in recreation & outdoor education from Western State Colorado University. He was also a graduate from the Anake Wilderness Survival School in Washington.
Last year Robert moved to Cincinnati, OH to pursue his passion working for the Camping & Educational Foundation, the parent organization of both Camp Kooch-i-ching and Ogichi Daa Kwe. He joined them to facilitate outreach programs bringing the love of the outdoors to inner city students. Most recently with a STEM based boatbuilding program, constructing beautiful, skin-on-frame canoes from start to finish that they then took to the waters. In the process they introduced the students to dozens of techniques, from lashing and lacing to skinning and steam-bending. He loved working with children and had a unique ability to connect and communicate with them. He was patient and empathetic, taking all their questions seriously and giving real thought before responding
Robert’s love of the outdoors was nurtured at Camp Kooch-i-ching outside of International Falls, MN, where he started as a 12-year-old camper. He spent the next 17 summers associated with the camp in various roles: counselor, wilderness guide, teaching archery, riflery, wood craft and much more.
He was a man of diverse interests: life-long student, finish carpenter, wilderness first responder, western mountain rescue, code writer, copywriter, and occasional Buddhist. He was a student of nature.
Robert thrived in outdoor environments and in activities requiring exacting physical demands. At the age of 22, he made a solo canoe trip to the Arctic Ocean, traveling 463 miles in 23 days. Two weeks after his return, he was off to climb the Southern Alps in New Zealand. Robert had a single-minded determination and once he decided to do something, he was going to do it. After achieving his goal, he was on to the next challenge. This made Robert a jack of all trades, a man who could speak with anyone about anything and a great asset to any trivia team.
Robert died of suicide after a courageous battle with mental illness. He spent most of his life, in his words, “fighting the good fight.”
Robert is survived by his parents, Roy (Celeste) & Joyce (Barry); brother, Will (Mark) & sister, Claire (Anthony); two grandparents, Barb & Pickle (aka Geri); as well as several aunts, uncles and cousins. His openness and uninhibited dancing are remembered by many. We will miss his passion for knowledge, the stories of his adventures (those he would share) and his wild and crazy outfits.
A Celebration of Life for Robert will be held on March 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Descanso Gardens Van de Kamp Hall (1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011). It is open to the public with free parking and admission to the celebration and garden grounds for the day. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make donations in Robert’s name to the Camping & Education Foundation, in Cincinnati, online at campingedu.org/give, or by making a check out to the Camping & Education Foundation, 3315 Michigan Ave., Cincinnati, OH, 45208.