Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies

Image: Ripples on water

SF State's bayside marine and estuarine research facility.

About the Ohrenschalls


Romberg Center Pays Tribute to Bob & Sue Ohrenschall

The ARK, Volume 27, Issue 49, Page 22, December 8, 1999.

By Diane Smith

"Sue and I have reached a point in our lives where we want to do some good for others," said Bob Ohrenschall. Along with their many other endeavors, the Tiburon couple recently donated appreciated stock to the Romberg Tiburon Center (RTC) to help renovate an old, 3,300 square foot Victorian home sitting on the property which, when completed next spring, will be used as the center's much needed guest house.

Numerous visiting scientists, researchers and students from around the world come to the RTC, with Chinese and Russian dignitaries the most recent guests. The three-story Ohrenschall Guest House, a building which formerly was occupied by the commander of the net depot, will have eight bedrooms, six baths, a kitchen, living room and decks overlooking the bay.


The 36 acres on the east shore of the Tiburon peninsula, where the RTC is now, has a colorful history. In the past it has been a Coast Miwok Indian village, cattle and dairy ranch, cod fishery, coaling station, nautical school, net depot and an oceanographic center.

Its deep water cove has harbored ships carrying a myriad of cargo, from reels of steel wire cable (to construct the Golden Gate Bridge), cod from Alaska and redwood logs from the North Coast, to anti-submarine nets, coal for fueling ships, and marine biological specimens, in addition to gold, manganese and other minerals taken from the ocean floor for research. In 1978, the first military turnover took place here when the government sold the land to San Francisco State University (SFSU) for $1 on the condition that it be used for education and research.

The objective of RTC is to preserve the quality of San Francisco Bay and to do marine research. It currently has a joint research project with the Oceans Institute in China relative to the water quality and estuary systems in Chinese rivers and bays.

"All of us living in Tiburon know that the bay is part of our lives," said Bob Ohrenschall. "We should all be interested in its health, quality and estuary system which leads to the health of water systems around the world."


Many organizations benefit from the Ohrenschalls’ involvement. Bob is currently on the board of directors of The College of Business at SFSU, the Eisenhower Institute (in Washington D.C.), the International Diplomacy Council (funded to the State Department), and the 1990 Institute (a group of expatriate Chinese who are trying to help China, outside of government channels with social, economic and environmental reforms).

Semi-retired, Bob is chairman emeritus of Addison Design Company and still maintains an office in the city. He is a member of the Tiburon-Belvedere Rotary Club and is currently both its international and program chairman.


Sue is on the board of directors of the Diplomacy Council, the current president of the Marin League of the San Francisco Symphony, on the executive committee of the San Francisco Symphony Volunteer Council and a past member of the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors. She is the current president of the Bel-Tib Newcomers Club.


Two of their four children live in Seattle, one is in Sausalito and one more lives in Spain. With a new Spanish grandchild on the way, they are planning a trip to Madrid to see the newest member of their family. Bob, a Yale graduate, met Sue, a Stanford graduate, at a Telegraph Hill street dance after his aircraft carrier came into Treasure Island following the Korean War. The couple lived, first, in San Francisco, then Sausalito and Greenbrea before moving to Tiburon four years ago.

The Ohrenschalls were honored by the RTC last week at a dedication of the Ohrenschall Guest House.

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