Robert Miles Runyan, Class of 1943

February 15, 2002
Santa Paula High School
By B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni Association Biography #164 (Have you submitted yours?)Bob Runyan, born in Nebraska in 1925 to Robert L. and Visna Rieger Runyan, came to Santa Paula at age 2, but he always called Santa Paula his “home town.” He was educated in the local grade schools and arrived at SPUHS with the Class of 1943.Bob’s best buddies at high school were Chuck Edwards, Dick Cummings and Clifford Galbraith. These boys were smart, active and extremely creative. What one didn’t think of, the others did. In grown life, Bob admitted to being a self-appointed hell-raising rebel. In the 1940s one knew everyone at SPUHS, and all who knew Bob and his friends knew of their pranks but still loved and admired them all.Bob was involved in most of the activities at school, but his real love was art. All his friends recall his sitting in any and all classes and scribbling on his papers or his books, or even the desks, stars, stars and more stars. He served on the 1941 El Solano staff as an assistant art editor, where you will find stars on each and every page.Following graduation Bob joined the United States Marines, and served his country to the end of World War II. On mustering out he went to Los Angeles Art Center school and then to Chouinard Art Institute to become a graphic designer.Bob worked for other designers for a short while, and in 1956 jumped into his own business. For 14 years he maintained an office in New York City, along with his office in Playa Del Rey, California. He designed corporate logos for companies such as Litton Industries, Crown Zellerbach, Times Mirror Co., Caesar’s Palace and many other well known companies, in addition to other commercial art work.
Before his retirement, Bob was considered one of the best graphic artists in the country and was the most honored, receiving more than 50 awards in a single year. He was one of only four designers in the world selected as a Hallmark Fellow at the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado in 1987. He was the subject of a 1983 book, “The Art of Robert Miles Runyan.” His work is featured in Graphic Annual Reports and Logo World, and is a part of the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art. One art critic ranked his talents with Andrew Wyeth and Norman Rockwell.The crowning project of his stellar career was his “Stars in Motion,” the logo for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. The interesting thing about his design is that the 13 lines represent the 13 original colonies, which give his stars the illusion of motion. Of course, the colors he chose for this design were red, white and blue.Runyan once advised Las Vegas businessmen to abandon their suits and ties for casual clothes, to sell their city as a combination work-play destination. Bob, always flamboyant, dressed in open collared (often pink) shirts, jeans, cowboy hats and boots, even when attending business meetings with the “suits.”Bob married his high school sweetheart, Pauline Tevis, Class of 1944, and they had two daughters, Tevis and Kimberly. Unfortunately, this marriage of many years ended in divorce, and Bob moved to Mexico with his new wife, Claudette. It was at his home in Ajijic, Mexico that he passed away on July 27, 2001, thus ending one of Santa Paula’s more famous artistic careers.

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