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The Robert A. Ragen Archive

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LAST MAJOR UPDATE: AUGUST 12, 2023
(THIS PAGE IS IN FLUX, IN ITS EARLY STAGES, AND WITH MUCH STILL TO ADD)  




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PROJECT ORIGINS PRESENTS

THE Photo
BIOGRAPHY
OF
ROBERT APPLEBY RAGEN

"A Day in the Life"



This exhibit showcases a selection of Robert Appleby Ragen's previously unpublished personal photographs and biographical search analysis taken from the Robert A. Ragen Archive, and with kindness and consultation from the family of Robert A. Ragen. This photobiography grants an unprecedented and captivating glimpse into the enigmatic personal life of one of history's most brilliant, innovative, and influential inventors. With an eccentric and out-of-the-box approach to nearly everything, this remarkable visionary left an indelible mark on history, playing a central role in helping usher in the modern era of both personal and scientific computing.

Dr. Christopher Kavanau, Executive Director of Project Origins, scanned most of these from the original negatives that were acquired by MoTET and were part of the Robert A. Ragen estate. Dr. Kavanau also conducted the biographical research, in consultation with the family of Robert Ragen. Dr. Kavanau himself holds 5 U.S. Patents for his inventions concerning computational neuroscience & machine learning, and is a professor at East Stroudsburg University. 

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Robert (Bob) Appleby Ragen
Ma
rch 13, 1957
Villa Chartier Restaurant in San Mateo

When this photo was taken (closeup shown above)Bob, 28, was employed at the prestigious Friden Calculator Company helping design and develop top secret cryptologic coding/decoding circuitry, most likely for decoding signals embedded in foreign radio transmissions. Bob was cleared for access to cryptologic information on October 25, 1954 and received his Top Secret Security Clearance on September 9, 1958, issued by Headquarters, Sixth Army. 
(see documentation in Bob's archive below)













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Bob Ragen, shown above in 1950 at the age of 22, as a Senior in electrical engineering at UC Berkeley and member of the Society of Electrical Engineers, a student chapter of the AIEE. Upon graduation, Bob enlisted in the Air Force where he served for a 11-month period. After this service, Bob pivoted to civilian life, securing a position within the Department of Defense as an electrical engineer. Here, Bob worked on highly classified radar systems for military submarines (possibly nuclear), to detect airborne attacks. In 1953, Bob embarked on a completely new adventure. That fall, he joined the esteemed Friden Calculator Company, where he was tasked with helping design top secret electronic circuits for decoding encrypted messages. At the time, Friden had a cryptographic contract with the National Security Agency (NSA) that required top secret security clearances, which Bob naturally obtained. Then, from a prototyping construction project that started sometime before May of 1961, to the corresponding launch in 1964 (fully photo-documented in the Robert A. Ragen Archive found here at MoTET), Bob revolutionized personal and scientific computing with his fully solid state (fully-transistorized, etc.) desktop computer, the Friden EC-130, which the Smithsonian Institution now proudly displays in its halls. This breakthrough marked a crucial turning point in desktop personal computing history, as transistors now completely replaced the earlier vacuum and switching tubes that were bulky, power hungry, produced too much heat and, hence, greatly restricted in the ability to miniaturize. The advent of solid state (fully-transistorized, etc.) personal computing, combined with the relentless solid state miniaturization that followed, ultimately led to today's era of both personal and scientific computing.

















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Currently, the biographical written portion of this photobiography spans 33 pages and continues to expand. To ensure best practices during the ongoing process of edits and additions, in consultation, access to this section requires a password. If you have the password, just click the blue button above. 

















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BELOW ARE SAMPLE PHOTOS FROM THE PHOTO BIOGRAPHY THAT CONTINUES FURTHER BELOW
(Scroll down below the documentation to see the rest)

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Bob's three daughters lovingly presenting to Bob's effective father growing up, Robert Ord Appleby, with his 85th birthday cake.  Robert Ord Appleby and his wife, Winifred, and their younger daughter, Evelyn, played a crucial role in parenting Bob,  growing up in Robert's household, because Bob's mother, Beatrice, was working full time co-shouldering income for the household as a single mother. 

Photographer: Robert (Bob) A. Ragen on May 7, 1968.

Eighty-Fifth (85th) birthday cake lovingly presented by Bob's three daughters, to Robert Ord Appleby, 85. Robert was Bob's effective household father who raised Bob along with Robert's wife, Winifred, and Robert's younger daughter, Evelyn. Posing are all three of Bob's children, Suzanne, (Sue; 10 years old) (left) and Pamela (top; 12 years old) and Debra (right; 13 years old). Robert Ord Appleby sadly passed away six (6) months after this photo was taken. 

Note how blue eyes runs in the family. Bob also had blue eyes.

Center Bottom: Robert Ord Appleby, 85 -  Bob's grandfather, and effective household father throughout Bob's entire childhood until graduating from UC Berkeley in 1950. They lived in the same household together together as a family. The cake reads, "Happy 85th Birthday Dad" because Aunt Evelyn, Robert's younger daughter, was also present presenting the cake. Bob's childhood household consisted of his grandparents Robert and Winifred, himself, his mother Beatrice, and Beatrice's younger sister Evelyn. Robert Ord Appleby sadly passed away (Nov 18, 1968) six months after this photograph was taken. 

Right: Debra Ragen - Bob's oldest daughter. Thirteen (13) years old.

Left: Suzanne (Sue) Irene Ragan -  Bob's youngest daughter. Ten (10) years old.

Center Top: Pamela Ragan - Bob's middle daughter wearing horn rimmed glasses, a popular style from this period. Twelve (12) years old.

















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Robert (Bob) Appleby Ragen on his eighty-second (82) birthday on July 23, 2011, lovingly served his birthday cake by family. Photograph kind courtesy of Bob Ragen's family. 
Note: Sadly, Bob also passed away at the age of 82, on July 20, 2012.

















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March 13, 1957; Closeup of figure further down below.

At the time this photograph was taken Bob was employed at Friden with a top secret security clearance designing top secret cryptologic decoding/coding circuits for the National Security Agency (NSA). 

From left to right:

Rosemary Ragen (Bob's wife; age 28)
Debra Ragen (Bob's oldest child; age 2)
Bob Ragen (age 28)
Aunt Evelyn (Bob's mother's younger sister)
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Photograph kind courtesy of Bob Ragen's family. 

In three (3) years from when this photograph was taken, Bob would start building the early prototype that led to the EC-130. 

















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Bob's wife, Rosemarie, 42, looking lovingly and with excitement at her daughter, Sue (Bob's youngest daughter; 8 years old), as she opens her 1966 Christmas Day present.

Right: Bob's wife, Rosemarie.

Left: Bob's youngest daughter, Susanne (Sue) Irene Ragen. Eight (8) years old. 

Photograph taken by Robert A. Ragen on Christmas Day 1966 at Aunt Evelyn's house (Bob's mother's sister's house). 

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen, 38, and his entire domestic family shown together standing outside the house that Bob and Rosemary purchased at 2209 Hansen Road, Hayward, CA 94541 (see documentation below). This particular house and documentation is profiled much further down below. Note the terrific V "Victory" arrangement. 

From left to right: Robert (Bob) Ragen (38), Debra Jean Ragen (11), Susanne (Sue) Irene Ragen (8), Pamela (Pam) A. Ragen (10
),  and Rosemarie, 38 (Bob's wife).  November 1966.

















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This is Bob's middle daughter, Pam, 10, standing next to Bob's prototype for Friden's first commercial electronic printing calculator (the Friden 1150 printing calculator). Bob invited her to quickly run to the lab with him to pick something up on this day. Photo by Robert A. Ragen on November 1966.

















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Bob's secretary, Carol, seated in front of a schematic diagram for a Friden 1150. Carol is also operating the prototype for the Friden 1150. Photo by Robert Ragen, 1967. 

















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Click blue button to jump to
a photo history of Bob's secretaries throughout his career

















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Birthplace of the Friden EC-130, EDTC-1 and EDTC-2. Bob's wife, Rosemary, and children (In 1964: Debra, 10, Pamela, 9, and Suzanne, 7) would enter through the Lab Freight Entrance when they brought Bob dinner or came to visit. Bob would then do a show and tell concerning his latest advances while the kids would often wonder off to Bob's office to play Bob's "Lucky Number Machine." In February 1965 Bob, after achieving such extraordinary success with the EC-130, moved his office and labs into the freshly constructed building across the street (at 2350 Washington Avenue), which was right next to Friden's main complex. 

















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Click blue button to jump to
History and Analysis of Bob's offices and laboratories, including the birthplace of the Friden EC-130 and its prototypes.

















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Bob, 39, inspecting boards for the Friden 1112 at the Hitachi plant in Japan. Photo: Likely 1967.  

















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Bob's inspection of the Hitachi plant in 1967 for the Friden 1112 calculator. This was Friden's first Nixie Tube production calculator. 

















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Click blue button to jump to
Bob's handwritten letters back home ranging from his early days in the Air Force, to his later days at Singer.

Pictured above is Bob's travel Itinerary for October 1967.

















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Bob, 18, and his high school sweetheart, Rosemary, also 18, appear on the cover of their high school newspaper (Freemont High School, Oakland, Calif.) on April 25, 1946. They were both Seniors at the time.  Bob was second in command (behind the Director) as Stage Manager in this brilliant stage production of "Ever Since Eve" (see press below). Don George, not shown, was Bob's immediate assistant. Rosemary played Susan Blake, in the production. More details and photos concerning this production are shown further into this photo biography.  Original newspaper and associated documents high-resolution scanned by MoTET. 

















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Bob Ragen, 18 (left) as a high school Senior, and Rosemary Massey, 18 (right) also as a high school Senior. Bob and Rosemary were high school sweethearts who met as Juniors at the Freemont High School, Oakland, California. They were well known for being the smartest couple in their graduating class and were also known on campus for walking with long footsteps in perfect unison. Rosemary's interest was in Chemistry, which she parlayed into a part-time career at Dow Chemical before launching into teaching the subject. June 1946. 

















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Robert Ord Appleby, Bob's grandfather and effective father growing up (right) and Winifred Appleby, his wife (left), who also played a important motherly role in helping raise Bob, along with their daughter Evelyn, while Bob's mother, Beatrice, was at work. Photograph kind courtesy of Robert Ragen's family. 

















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Bob Ragen (right), 48, and Carl Herendeen (left) on June 14, 1977 holding a framed cover page of one of their several joint U.S. patents (Bob as lead author), while at Xerox. Carl was a remarkably brilliant logic designer who was on Bob's design team for the Friden EC-130 going back to the first EDTC-1 prototype.  In earlier photographs found in the Robert A. Ragen Archive, during the development of the Friden EC-130, Carl is not sporting a beard. This particular patent is:  4029190US. Carl is shown here with Bob sharing the memorial. Bob taped this photograph inside the frame (shown in the photograph) on the lower-left (see additional photos further down).

















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Bob and Carl had a long history of collaboration going all the way back to the EDTC-1, where Bob was the lead inventor. 

















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On March 13, 1957, a momentous occasion unfolded as Robert and Winifred celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary alongside their family. The joyous event took place at the prestigious Villa Chartier Restaurant in San Mateo, renowned for hosting notable personalities like Mickey Rooney.

From left to right:
Winifred Appleby ("Doggie Grandma" (See photobiography),
Robert Appleby ("Doggie Grandpa"),
Mrs. Barnes (the Appleby's neighbor),
John Leary ("Aunt Evelyn's" husband),
Rosemary Ragan (Bob's wife),
Debra Ragen (Bob's oldest daughter),
Bob Ragen, 28 years old.
Evelyn Leary ("Aunt Evelyn"; Bob's mother's younger sister).

Photograph kind courtesy of Bob Ragen's family.

















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Closeup of the figure above.
From left to right: Rosemary Ragen, Debra Ragen, Bob Ragen (age 28), Aunt Evelyn (Bob's mother's younger sister)
. Photograph kind courtesy of Bob Ragen's family. 

In three (3) years from when this photograph was taken, Bob would start building the early prototype that led to the EC-130. 

















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Robert Ragen wrote:"130 with production supervisors"

May 1964  


Left to Right: (unknown), Robert Ragen, 35, Barbro Friden Alexander, Andy Anderson, Bill Poff and Elmer Stoltz (kneeling)

Under plastic is the original pre-production prototype under covers (far left). This is clearly indicated by the unique-shaped keys of the protyt0type, compared to the production units.

Note: MoTET has rescanned the entire archive using a state-of-the-art high resolution scanner. This is an example of one of these vastly higher resolution scans that have not been posted yet (except for this one).  

















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From right to left: Debra (Bob's oldest daughter), Beatrice (Bob's mother; tallest person standing), Sue (Bob's youngest daughter), Pam (Bob's middle daughter), Beatrice's second husband. 

















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Robert (Bob) Appleby Ragen, as a child, posing on a horse in front of his childhood home. The best guess is that a photographer came to Bob's house (going house to house) and arranged to stage this photograph for a fee. Unknown date. Photograph kind courtesy of Bob Ragen's family. 

















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Closeup: Robert (Bob) Appleby Ragen, as a child, posing on a horse in front of his childhood home. Photograph kind courtesy of Bob Ragen's family. Unknown date.

















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Closeup: Robert (Bob) Appleby Ragen, as a child, posing on a horse in front of his childhood home. Photograph kind courtesy of Bob Ragen's family. Unknown date.

















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Letter from Friden's Security Officer, Francis A. Nichols, dated December 4, 1958, describing Bob's secret cryptologic clearances: 

"RAGEN, Robert Appleby - Electronic Engineer - United States citizen, cleared for access to cryptologic information under date of 25 October 1954;  Secret clearance issued by Headquarters Sixth Army under date of 9 September 1958. 

Facility clearance: Top Secret dated 30 January 1958, San Francisco Air Procurement District, Oakland Army Terminal, Oakland 124, California."

Document via the kind courtesy of Bob Ragen's family

















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Oakland Tribune, July 3, 1935

During Bob's time at Fruitvale School, around when he was in 3rd and 4th grades, Mr. Sue Fratis was Bob's principal. It was a transformative period in Bob's life, particularly when he was approximately nine years old and at Fruitvale. Under the stewardship of Mr. Fratis, an extraordinary event took place that marked a significant turning point for Bob, as described in detail in the Robert A. Ragen photobiography.

















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Some of Bob's business cards. Photograph courtesy of Bob Ragen's family.  

















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Quite possibly Bob's earliest hand drawn schematic diagram from Friden. All hand drawn by "RAR" (Robert A. Ragen). This schematic diagram is dated January 6, 1954 (lower right). Photo courtesy of Bob Ragen's family.

















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Closeup - Quite possibly Bob's earliest hand drawn schematic diagram from Friden. "RAR" (Robert A. Ragen). This schematic diagram is dated January 6, 1964 and was near or at the time Bob started at Friden. Note the faint horizontal guide lines in faint pencil. This schmatic is for a Magnet Sub Assembly. Photo courtesy of Bob Ragen's family.

















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"Here R. A. Ragen, Friden's Director of Engineering compares a new MSI/IC circuit board with one of the larger functional equivalents required in an earlier all-discrete-component model (Friden EC-130). In the pre-assembly checkout area (background), an 1151 Calculator performs final screening of hundreds of circuit boards each day."   Date: 1968.

















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"The mystery is solved, thanks to Bernice Dransfield, who joined Friden Calculating Machine Company in 1933 as Carl Friden's secretary. From left to right: Tony Machado, Andy Anderson (one of the Production Managers for the Friden EC-130), Bob Maloney and John Moody." Photo from the Friden family.

















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Press the above button to jump to the rest of the photo gallery. Immediately below is printed biographical documentation used in the Robert A. Ragen biography. 

















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Bob Ragen and Rosemary Massey were engaged sometime "recently" before November 12, 1950. They had just graduated from UC Berkeley, and when this piece was written, their wedding plans were indefinite. They were both active in UC Berkeley's Masonic Club activities while in college. 

















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We learn that Bob's  grandparents on his mother's side had their 50th wedding anniversary together on March 13, 1957. They were both natives of England. Robert Ord Appleby came to the Bay area in 1903, while his wife, Winifred, arrived in 1907. They settled in Oakland in 1914 when they purchased their house at 2500 63rd Avenue. After they married, Robert Ord Appleby for a period of time in Hammerton, Yuba County worked as a placer mining machine operator extracting gold (on gold dredgers). After this, he moved back to Oakland to work as a blacksmith. Orbert Ord Appleby then became a concrete contractor in 1923 and remained in business he retired in 1953. 

The Anniversary celebration happened at the Villa Chartier Restaurant in San Mateo. The "Mrs. Fred Dickens" is Beatrice Appleby, Bob's mother, who had remarried Fred Dickens after divorcing Bob's father. A second Beatrice is also listed. Also, one of the two grandchildren present must have been Rob. 

















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1930 Census: Robert (Bob) A. Ragen is one (1) year old in this 1930 Census, residing at 2500 63rd Avenue, Oakland, California 94605. Beatrice, Bob's mother, was 21. 

















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Dated June 14, 1928, only 37 days before Robert A. Ragen was born (on July 23, 1928), this posting appeared in the personal listings in the Oakland Tribune.

"NOTICE - I am responsible for no debts or obligations contracted by my wife. Beatrice Appleby Ragen, on or after this date. (Signed) C. J. Ragen Dated June 13, 1928."

This suggests trouble, perhaps a bankruptcy, by Beatrice, on or around June 13, 1928.  

















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MISS BEATRICE RAGEN, of 63rd Ave., Oakland, Who Says: “VAN-TAGE Has Made Life Worth the Living for Me. I can’t Praise This Medicine Enough!”

 

Miss Ragen, of 63rd Ave., Was just a bundle of nerves and couldn't sleep and felt worn out constantly - Her meals made her feel sick and caused terrible gas pains. - But now Van-Tage has relived her and she says: "I can't praise it enough. It's wonderful!"

No medicine in history say some of the leading druggists of Oakland has ever been as universally endorsed in this city as VAN-TAGE the Amazing New Compound now being introduced to crowds daily at Whitthorn & Swan's Drug Dept.,10th and Washington by a Special Van-Tage Representative, known as The VAN-TAGE Man. Literally thousands of local people are praising Van-Tage and many are coming forward with statements for publication, telling what this Remarkable Medicine did for them, and urging others to get it and take it. For instance Miss Beatrice Ragen of 2500 63rd Ave., Oakland, recently made the following statement about Van-Tage. This is another of the authentic Van-Tage testimonials being published daily in the newspapers of Oakland, in fact, we want all interested persons to know that every Van-Tage statement published is a truthful testimonial correct in every detail to the best knowledge and belief of the makers of This Great Medicine. Mrs. Ragen's statement reads as follows:

Was a Bundle of Nerves and Couldn't Sleep

“For the last 4 years I had been a nervous and suffering person, in fact, I guess I was looking more or less than what you would call a 'bundle of nerves',” said Miss Ragen, "It was almost impossible for me to get my proper sleep and rest. I'd just toss and roll about the bed nearly all night, unable to sleep, and when morning came I was more tired than when I went to bed the night before and would get up feeling exhausted and worn out and would just drag around. It just seemed like all the energy had left my body. My stomach was upset and what little food I ate would nauseate me and make me feel sick and could cause terrible gas pains all through my stomach organs.[”]

Now Gets Sound Sleep; Oh! What a Change!

“I tried a lot of medicines and treatments, but without results, so I began to think I couldn't be helped, and then I read about Van-Tage in the newspapers and decided to try it. And I will say that this Great Compound turned out to be what I needed. Seemed like I could just feel my condition changing as I took it and I kept on and took 4 bottles altogether and I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that it was worth a small fortune to me, because now I can go to bed and get a full night of sound sleep and oh! what a difference it makes in the way I feel. Now I get up mornings feeling fine, instead of all exhausted and worn out. My meals agree with me now and I am relieved of those terrible gas pains and life is certainly worth the living for me once again and I can't praise Van-Tage enough and gladly endorse it to all who suffer as I did."

Over 30 Ingredients in this Great Compound

VAN-TAGE contains over 30 ingredients including 21 Great Herbs. It invigoates bowel, stomach, liver and kidney action, as a carminative, laxative, cholagogus and diuretic, so that daily people write us they feel different all over. The price of this Remarkable Compound is reasonable, due to the immense volume in which it sells so don't hesitate. Get Van-Tage--TODAY.

A special Van-Tage Representative, known as the VAN-TAGE Man is now at Whitthorne & Swan's Drug Dept., 10th and Washington, Oakland, daily meeting crowds of people and introducing and explaining this Remarkable Compound. VAN-TAGE is sold also at Capwell, Sullivan & Furth's Drug Dept., and by all Leading Druggists in Oakland, San Francisco and throughout California and Nearby States.

Beatrice Ragen, Bob's mother, appeared in this ad on November 24, 1936 in the Oakland Tribune. The 1930 Census record, in the figure just above this record, also shows Beatrice Ragen residing on 36th Avenue in Oakland, confirming that it is the same Beatrice Ragen and that she was still using the "Ragen" last name as late as November 24, 1936.  The article itself reads at one point:

"Miss Beatrice Ragen of 2500 63rd Ave. Oakland recently made the following statement about Van-Tage."  


Concerning this publication within the context of the era, it was not uncommon for advertisers to promote various remedies and tonics with greatly exaggerated claims. This ad, published in the Oakland Tribune on November 24, 1936, focuses on Miss Beatrice Ragen's testimonial of an anecdotal experience using the product called Van-Tage.
 

The ad describes Beatrice Ragen saying she was a "bundle of nerves" who experienced sleeplessness, constant fatigue, and digestive issues such as feeling sick after meals and suffering from gas pains. There is no reason to doubt these claims. For instance (and there are countless other possibilities), these exact symptoms could have been caused by heavy stress leading to chronic stimulation of the fight-and-flight mechanism. This shuts down the digestive system leading to exactly the gastric symptoms described as well as insomnia, which then leads to fatigue. The power of suggestion alone from taking this popular product trusted by friends may have reduced stress levels enough to mitigate her other symptoms. Hence, there is no reason to doubt the sincerity of this testimonial, though it might have been exaggerated to some degree. 

 

Van-Tage was presented by the advertisers as a “remarkable compound” that would evaporate a spectrum of problems, and was also gaining widespread endorsement from pharmacists in Oakland, San Francisco, California and the surrounding states. 

















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San Francisco Examiner
On Saturday October 15, 1927, Cryil J. Ragen, 23, Bob's father was married to Beatrice A. Appleby, 19, Bob's mother, both of Oakland, California.)

















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Robert (Rob) Appleby Ragen marries Rosemarie Massey on August 12, 1951. They were both 23 years old. 

















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Oakland Tribune
January 28, 1962
Bob's gradmother, and for his entire early life a home family member, passes away at age 76. Bob's grandparents were living in the same house on 2500 63rd Avenue where he grew up and lived until at least 1950, when he graduated from UC Berkeley. 

"...loving grandmother of Robert Ragen of Hayward, great-grand-mother of Debra, Pamela and Susanne Ragen."  

















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Bob's mother, Beatrice, passes away on November 13, 1967 at the age of 59. She was a member of The Loma Vista Chapter No. 415 O.E.S. of Oakland, the Brotherhood of railway Clerks of San Francisco and an employee of the Pullman Company for 39 years. 

















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The death certificate for Bob's father, Cyril on March 17, 1939. Note the exact match of names for Cyril's mother and father, Cyril himself, birthplace, salesman trade and "Mrs C Ragen" as the Informant, as compared with the Census records in California, when he lived there. Cyril died of a Cerebral Apoplexy (a type of stroke).  

















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1930 Census
Bob's father, Cyril John Ragen, lived in a 1,114 square foot household, two bedrooms and one bathroom with seven (7) other family members. The address was 1165 Seminary Avenue, Oakland, Alameda California. It also shows that Cyril J. Ragen was married to Beatrice Appleby when he was 23 years old:

Peter J. Ragen (father, 58)
Amil Ragen (mother, 54)
Cyril J. Ragen (son, 26 & Robert Ragen's father)
Joseph A. Ragen (son, 37)

Emmalina (daughter-in-Law, 37)
Mary H. (grand daughter, 5)
Christian (grandson, 2 years 2 months
Elizabeth A. (grand daughter 1 year 2 months

Cyril and Joseph were the only ones employed, supporting the rest of the household. Cyril was a salesman of office supplies and Joseph was a mechanic. 

















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1940 Census: Compared to the 1930 Census (see farther up above), Robert (Bob) Ragen is still living at the same address at 2500 63rd Avenue, as detailed in this 1940 Census (April 18, 1940). Now Bob is 11 years old. 

















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1950 Census: This shows that Robert (Bob) A. Ragen was still living at the same home address when he graduated from UC Berkeley in 1950 (at 22 years old).  It is the same 2500 63rd Avenue address, in Oakland California. Beatrice, Bob's mother, is now shown as an Assistant Chief Clerk for a railroad company in 1950. Also, it shows Robert Ord Appleby working as a cement contractor.

















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1920 Census: Census record from 1920 showing the earlier house that Beatrice lived in growing up with her sister Evelyn and her parents Robert Ord Appleby and Winfred. It was a nearby address at 2474 64th Avenue, Oakland, California. It shows that in 1920 Robert Ord Appleby was working as a blacksmith at a shipyard. This was before Bob was born in 1928.

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen's World War II Draft Registration Card from July 24, 1946.

















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1942 World War II Draft Registration for Robert Ord Appleby.

















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September, 12, 1918 Draft Registry for Robert Ord Appleby. It shows that Robert Ord Appleby and his wife Winnifred Elizabeth Appleby resided at a still earlier address at 7007 Lockwood, Oakland, California. Also, one leg was 2 1/2 inches shorter than the other. He worked for Union Iron Works as an Angle Iron Smith.

















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Document showing that Bob, 16, was formerly employed as a "Washerman" with The Pullman Company. Dated August 7, 1944.  The social security number is redacted. Photo courtesy of Bob Ragen's family.  

















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Oakland Tribune, June 7, 1940. Bob, 12,  is seen second from the left. "Bob Ragen, 2500 63rd Avenue."  

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Closeup; Bob Ragen, Age 12

















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Bob, 17, appears here as the Stage Manager, which was second in command behind the Director, here in this high school Senior production of 'Ever Since Eve'. This is the lead article from his high School's newspaper on April 25, 1946, Rosemary was one of the production's stars playing Susan Blake. This was Bob and Rosemary's Senior year at the Freemont High School.  

















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ClOSEUP of photo and caption showing both Bob and his high school sweetheart, Rosemary (lady wearing the pearl necklace)

















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The rest of the article from above. 

















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This is the Program for "Ever Since Eve" where Bob served second in command (behind Director) as the Stage Manager

















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Bob appears here as the Stage Manager, which was second in command behind the Director, here in this high school Senior production. Rosemary is one of the production's stars playing Susan Blake.  Don George was Bob's immediate assistant. Bob's best friend was the electrician, Dave McElhatton.

















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CLOSEUP: Rosemary Massey, Bob's high school sweetheart, appears here wearing the necklace of pearls in the center. 

















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CLOSEUP: Bob Ragen, 18, appears here standing and in the center, with Rosemary, 18, seated in front of him and wearing the pearl necklace. 

















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In high school Bob, 17, and Rosemary, 17, were members of the Masqueteers (see series of photos just above this one. Photo dated June 1946.

Bob: standing, far right
Rosemary: seated, third from right.  

















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On December 28, 1967, Robert (Bob) Appleby Ragen was promoted to Director of Engineering at the Friden/Singer San Leandro plant, as documented in the Oakland Tribune.  

















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Bob's father, Cyril John Ragen, lived in this house, a two (2) bedroom, one (1) bathroom and 1,114 square feet, with his parents and siblings. In a household of eight (8) he was only one of two breadwinners, according to the 1930 U.S. Census records (see below). This very small house, especially for a family of eight (8), was built in 1922. Cyril worked as a salesman of office supplies. The other breadwinner was his older brother Joseph A. Ragan, an auto mechanic. Their address was 1165 Seminary Avenue, Oakland, Alameda California. 

















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Bob's grandfather, Robert Ord Appleby (on Bob's mother's side), having his 85th birthday. Photograph by Robert (Rob) Ragen on May 7, 1968. Robert Ord Appleby was like a father to Bob (see above documentation and below). The birthday cake to Robert reads, "Happy 85th Birthday Dad" because Robert's daughter, Evelyn, was also presenting the cake along with Bob, Rosemary and their three daughters. When this photo was taken, Bob's other grandfather, on his dad's side, Peter J. Ragen, had passed away seven (7) years earlier (April 15, 1961). Sadly, Robert Ord Appleby passed away later in the same year that this photograph was taken. 

Bob's mother, Beatrice Appleby, married Cyril John Ragen at the age of 19 (he was 23) and gave birth to Bob at the age of 20 while she was living with her parents, Robert Ord Appleby and Winnifred Elizabeth Appleby. She brought up and raised Bob in her parents house until Bob graduated from UC Berkeley in 1950. Because Bob's biological father did not raise or live with him, Robert Ord Appleby was a father figure to Bob. At the time this photo was taken, Robert was a retired cement independent contractor and angle iron smith at a shipyard.

Later that year, after this birthday photo, Robert Ord Appleby passed away on November 18, 1968, at 85 years old. He was born on May 7, 1883. Winnifred Elizabeth Appleby passed away in 1962. 

















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Beatrice Appleby Ragen in 1936 at 28 years old.

Bob's mother, Beatrice Appleby Ragen. Beatrice gave birth to Bob on June 18, 1928. Cyril John Ragen was Bob's father. 

Beatrice Appleby Ragen was born on May 31, 1908 and passed away on November 13, 1967, at the age of 59.
 
On June 13, 1928, thirty six (36) days before Bob was born (born on July 23, 1928), Bob's father, Cyril John Ragen, posted in the Oakland Tribune: 

"NOTICE - I am responsible for no debts or obligations contracted by my wife. Beatrice Appleby Ragen, on or after this date. (Signed) C. J. Ragen Dated June 13, 1928."

This apparently marked either financial trouble or bankruptcy of Beatrice Appleby Ragen, on or about June 13, 1928.  

According to the 1930, 1940 and 1940 Census' records, Beatrice raised Bob as a single mother and in 1940 
worked as a stenographer for Pullman Car Company making $1,300 a year ($28,000 per year in 2023 dollars). By 1950, Beatrice worked as a Assistant Chief Clerk for a railroad company. 

She and Bob lived in a household together with her parents (Bob's grandparents), Robert Ord Appleby and Winfred Appleby. Bob lived with his mother and these two grandparents for his entire childhood and early adulthood until he graduated from UC Berkeley in 1950. 

















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Robert (left),  and Bob (right). Undated photograph. Photo courtesy of Bob Ragen's family. 

















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Bob posing outside his house. Undated photograph. Photograph with kind courtesy of Robert Ragen's family. 

















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Bob, 33, shown with his three daughters, dated 1961. 

















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Bob's best friend in High School and College, David McElhatton. (see the text of the biography concerning their extraordinary adventures). David was also Bob's graduating class President and Toaster at Freemont High School, Oakland, California. June 1946.

















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Oakland Tribune, June 16, 1946. Bob's best high school and college friend, Dave McElhatton, is seated at the table, on the left.  

















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Bob was the Stage Director for his high school's theater production of You Can't Take it With You, on June 4, 1945, at the Freemont High School auditorium. Dave McElhatton was the "Master" electrician working under him. Rosemary starred as Rheba.  

















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LEFT PANEL: Bob wrote in Rosemary's high school Senior yearbook, "Lots of 'Luck.' To a swell girl. Bob Ragen." (January 1946).

Bob and Rosemary first met in a study hall at school, sometime as high school Juniors in 1945.

RIGHT PANEL: Bob wrote to Rosemary in her high school "Spring Fantasy" Senior Dinner program, "To the most wonderful girl in the world. Bob." (June 1946).

















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Bob's wife, Rosemarie, looking lovingly on and with excitgement at her grand daughter, Sue (Bob's youngest daughter; 8 years old), as she opens her 1966 Christmas Day present.

Right: Bob's wife, Rosemarie, 42.

Left: Bob's youngest daughter, Susanne (Sue) Irene Ragen, 8. 

Photograph taken by Robert A. Ragen on Christmas Day 1966 at Bob's grandfather's house (Robert Ord Appleby's). 

















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Bob Ragen, 73, Right, Sam Bidkaram, 68, Left. October 21, 2001 at the "Friden Employee Reunion at Pleasanton, California. About 150 Fridenites and spouses were there , along with a dozen members of the Friden family."

Sam, now 90 (in 2023) helped troubleshoot an integrated circuit production issue with the Friden 1160. Sam helped troubleshoot issues with the Friden 1160 series boards during threir production in San Leandro. Sam has also been very helpful providing historic information about Friden through many interviews conducted by Dr. Chris Kavanau, as well as helping photograph the birthplace of the Friden 130, along with his son Andrew, as it looks today.  

















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Bob lived and grew up at this address in Oakland, California, from birth until his graduation from UC Berkeley at the age of 22. He was raised by his mother, Beatrice, a stenographer, and his two grandparents. The 1930, 1940, and 1950 U.S. Census confirm his residency here. The house, coincidentally also built in 1922, has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and spans 1,280 square feet. It is located at 2500 63rd Avenue, Oakland, California 94605. Bob's grandparents were Robert Ord Appleby, a cement worker and independent contractor, and Winnifred Elizabeth Appleby, a housewife. In today's currency, their combined household income was approximately $49,000 per year, as per the 1940 Census.

















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According to the 1930, 1940 and 1950 Census records, Bob lived in this house from birth to at least the age of 22. He resided here at least until his graduation from UC Berkeley in 1950. The house, located at 2500 63rd Avenue, Oakland, California 94605, was coincidentally also built in 1922. Bob was raised here by his mother, Beatrice Ragen, and his grandparents, Robert Ord Appleby and Winnifred Elizabeth Appleby.

















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Bob's shed that his grandfather, Robert, built for him. It became Bob's childhood retreat, a place to study, and his workshop and laboratory that transformed his life. Later owners of the house have apparently upgraded/weatherproofed the shed. Images from Google Earth.

















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Bob's oldest daughter, Debra, 12 (left) and Bob's wife Rosemary, 39 (right). They are sitting on a very special family couch, called the "fancy" couch, in a very special room of Bob's & Rosemary's house called the "fancy room," indicating that this photograph was taken on a very special occasion. Photographed by Robert A. Ragen in March 1967.

















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Both left and right panels are from the 1950 UC Berkeley yearbook.

The left panel has the entry for Robert (Bob) A Ragen (see two red boxes).

The right panel has the same, but for Rosemary Massey

















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Closeups. Note that both Bob and Rosemary Ragen belonged to the Masonic Club. 

















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Closeups of Rosemary Ragen (left) and Bob Ragen (right) from their high school senior yearbook.

















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Closeups of Rosemary Ragen, 22 (left) and Bob Ragen, 22 (right) from the U.C. Berkeley senior yearbook, in 1950. 

















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Rosemary Ragen on her birthday, on May 16, 1968

















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Rosemary Ragen, teaching a high school chemistry class. After their children grew up, Rosemary taught high school chemistry for 20 years at the Castro Valley Unified School District.  Undated photo from Rosemary's memorial. Photo from the early 1980's. 

















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TOP Panel: Bob graduates from UC Berkeley with a degree in engineering on June 1951. Bob was short a few credits, which he quickly completed, but it delayed the printing of the diploma. Photograph courtesy of Robert Ragen's family. 

BOTTOM Panel: Rosemary graduates from UC Berkeley with a degree in Chemistry on June 1950. Rosemary was one of only three women in her class to to get a degree in Chemistry.  
Photographs courtesy of Robert Ragen's family.  Photograph courtesy of Robert Ragen's family.

















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Birthday! From right to left: Robert, Rosemary, Bob (33), Sue, Beatrice (Bob's mother; standing), Debra, Pam, two presently unidentified boys.  Photo dated 1962.

















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Bob's boat where many of the family adventures transpired (see biography). Left: Debra Ragen; Right: Pamela (Pam) Ragen. Photo by Bob Ragen, Spring 1961.

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen (left), 38. Also shown are Bob's two eldest daughters. Debra, 11, the oldest (right) and Pamela ("Pam," second from left), 10. Third from left is Rosemarie, 38, Bob's wife. This photo was taken from the side of his house on Beckham Street. November 1966.

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen, 38, and his family shown together standing outside the house that Robert and Rosemary purchased at 2209 Hansen Road, Hayward, CA 94541 (see documentation below). This particular house and documentation is profiled much further down below. Note the terrific V "Victory" arrangement.  From left to right: Robert (Bob) Ragen, 38; Debra Jean Ragen, 11; Pam A. Ragen (Pamela), 10; Susanne (Sue) Irene Ragen, 8; and Rosemarie 38 (Bob's wife). November 1966.

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen, 38,  standing in front of his house on the side of Beckham Street. November 1966, 

















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Bob's two eldest daughters: Debra, 11 (left) and Pamela, 10 (right).  Photograhed by Robert Ragen in November 1966.

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen, 38 (2nd from left), also shown are Bob's eldest daughter Debra, 11 (left) and youngest daughter, Susanne (Sue), 8. (3rd from left). Bob's wife, Rosemarie, 38 (right). November 1966.

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen's three daughters. The shortest/youngest is cousin Karla. Left to right: Pam, 11; Debra, 12; and Sue, 9. Photographed by Robert (Bob) Ragen in April 1967.

















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Bob's 2nd eldest daughter, Pam, 10, posing in front of their house. Photographed by Robert (Bob) Ragen on November 1966.

















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Bob's two eldest daughters, Debra, 11 (left) and Pam, 10 (right) playing in their back yard. Photographed by Robert (Bob) Ragen in November 1966.

















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Bob's two eldest daughters, Pamela, 10 (left) and Debra, 11 (right). Robert Ragen, photographer. Photographed by Robert (Bob) Ragen in November 1966.

















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From Left to Right (Christmas photo by Bob Ragen):

Sue (Bob's youngest daughter),
Beatrice's (Bob's mother's) husband,
Robert (Bob's grandfather and effective father growing up)
Rosemary (Bob's wife)
Debra (Bob's oldest daughter)
Beatrice (Bob's mother)
Pam (Bob's middle daughter)
Evelyn (Beatrice's younger sister by 4 years).

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Stingray Convertible, parked directly in front of his house. License Plate appears to be: "BZC 341." Bob took the picture from the outdoor landing of his house. Photo by Robert (Bob) Ragen on May 16, 1968.

















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Bob's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Stingray Convertible, parked directly in front of his house. Robert (Bob) Ragen took the picture from his second story bedroom on May 16, 1968. 

















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Bob's youngest daughter, Susanne (Sue) Irene Ragen, 10, at the wheel of her dad's (1963 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Stingray Convertible, parked directly in front of their house. May 16, 1968. Bob is taking the photo from a second story window of his house.

















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Close up - Bob's youngest daughter, Sue Irene Ragen, 10, at the wheel of her father's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Stingray, parked directly in front of their house. Photographed by Robert (Bob) Ragen on May 16, 1968.

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen's youngest daughter, Sue, 10, at the kitchen table comfortably working on a craft project. It reads "BE SAFE; BE W..." Photographed by Robert (Bob) Ragen on May 16, 1968.

















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THE NEXT FOUR (4) PHOTOS ARE EXAMPLES OF BOB RAGAN AS A PORTRAIT AND LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER, HIGHLIGHTING ANOTHER DIMENSION OF BOB'S ARTISTIC AND CREATIVE GENIUS.










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Robert (Bob) Ragen's youngest daughter, Susanne (Sue) Irene Ragen, 10. Photographed by her dad, Robert (Bob) Ragen on May 16, 1968. Note the brilliant color composition. 

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen's youngest daughter, Sue, 10, photographed by her dad, Robert (Bob) Ragen on May 16, 1968. Note the brilliant color composition.

















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Scenic photo. This stunningly beautiful landscape apparently caught Bob's eye. Photo taken by Robert A. Ragen in May 1968.

















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Robert (Bob) Ragen's youngest daughter, Sue, 10, photographed by her dad, Robert (Bob) Ragen on May 16, 1968.

















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Closeup: Robert (Bob) Ragen, 21, second row on the left,  shown in his UC Berkeley yearbook (fall 1949 & Spring 1950) as a member of the Society of Electrical Engineers. It was a student chapter of the of the AIEE and IRE.

















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Closeup: Robert (Bob) Ragen, 21, second row on the left,  shown in his UC Berkeley yearbook (fall 1949 & Spring 1950) as a member of the Society of Electrical Engineers. It was a student chapter of the of the AIEE and IRE.

















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A groovy Twister party at Robert (Bob) Ragen's house. Photo by Robert A. Ragen on December 1966.

















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A groovy Twister party at Robert (Bob) Ragen's house. The lady standing with her hand on her hip is Bob's wife, Beatrice. "Aunt Margo is holding the drink and Bob's oldest daughter, Debra, is on the mat playing Twister.  Photo by Robert A. Ragen on December 1966.

















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Bob's 2nd eldest daughter, Pamela, 11 (right), with Debra (left), at the table working on what looks like an Easter egg project. Photo by Robert A. Ragen on March 1967. 

















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