CVWD General Manager Steve Robbins Passes Away

Steve Robbins, general manager of Coachella Valley Water District and a former member of the ACWA Board of Directors, died Sept. 27 after a battle with leukemia. He was 59.

The long-time La Quinta resident had been a patient at the world-renowned cancer-treatment center, preparing for a bone marrow transplant.

A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs.

“I share with water district employees and others who knew Steve Robbins the deep sorrow that comes from losing a really good friend,” CVWD Board President Peter Nelson said.

“Steve's leadership locally, regionally and in the water industry throughout California will be missed. He helped shape CVWD into one of the most widely recognized water agencies in the great southwest, benefitting the Coachella Valley in immeasurable ways.”

Because he was so widely respected and influential within the water industry, Robbins' involvement in statewide agencies included productive terms as president of the State Water Contractors and as chair of ACWA's Region 9.

Robbins' dedicated community involvement included service as a La Quinta planning commissioner, past president and member of the La Quinta chapter of Rotary International and membership in the Building Industry Association. His contributions in La Quinta were recognized by the city when he was named as a Pillar of the Community.

When his illness was made public, there was an outpouring of compassionate support from friends, co-workers and others in the community during a well-publicized drive that registered more than 275 potential bone marrow donors.

Despite his poor health, Robbins visited the district's administrative building in Palm Desert to thank those who were participating in the drive, and in media interviews encouraged others to become potential bone marrow donors.

A match with excellent prospects was found for Robbins from among existing donors, but the native of Port Hueneme succumbed to his cancer before a transplant could be performed.

Robbins is survived by Karen, his wife of more than 25 years, daughters Ashley, Kristyn and Kirklyn, son-in-law Corry Hunter, grandsons Rhys and Brock, a brother, Craig, and his parents, Bob and Esther.

A graduate of UCLA, his employment with CVWD totaled 25 years in an engineering career that included a break of several years from public service when he ventured into the private sector. He was the general manager-chief engineer for nearly a decade and only the third person since 1956 to serve as CVWD's chief administrator.

In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that donations can be made to City of Hope, 1500 East Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, 1-800-826-4673, www.cityofhope.org.