Clayton mourns Bob Hoyer, city’s patriarch and guiding force

Clayton mourns Bob Hoyer, city’s patriarch and guiding force

Clayton mourns Bob Hoyer, city’s patriarch and guiding force
Robert Hoyer is sworn in as Clayton’s first mayor in 1964 (left). A robust Hoyer was still competing in a bocce league as he approached his 100th birthday.

CLAYTON, CA (Mar. 13, 2024) — Clayton is grieving the loss of one of its most cherished figures, Robert “Bob” Hoyer, who passed away just days before his 103rd birthday. Hoyer was a pivotal figure in the community, leaving behind a legacy of leadership, dedication, and service that has profoundly shaped the city’s identity and growth over many decades.

Born in Oakland, Hoyer’s journey began at the University of Nevada in Reno. There, he pursued a degree in mining engineering. His studies were interrupted by World War II. He served in the US Army in the Philippines. After the war, he completed his degree in Nevada, where he met his wife, Eldora, a Navy flight instructor. Together, they embarked on a journey that would leave a lasting impact on Clayton and its residents.

In 1956, the Hoyers settled in Clayton. They built their home as the post-war boom swept through the Bay Area. In a classic David and Goliath move, Concord sought to expand into Clayton’s Cardinet Oaks area, sparking a fierce battle for independence. The Hoyers led this charge, resulting in Clayton’s incorporation as a city on March 18, 1964. Bob Hoyer was elected as the city’s first mayor, serving on the council until 1980. He was mayor from 1964-67 and again in 1970-71.


Hoyer’s tenure as mayor was characterized by visionary leadership and meticulous planning. He and Eldora played key roles in establishing the Clayton Historical Society in 1976, preserving the town’s rich heritage. Hoyer also served on various committees, advocating for responsible development and environmental stewardship, which laid the foundation for the Clayton we know today.

Hoyer’s advocacy for responsible development and environmental stewardship left a lasting impact on Clayton. His efforts to preserve open space and create a city-wide trail system earned him the respect and admiration of his peers and constituents.

Humble and humorous

Despite his many accomplishments, Hoyer remained humble and approachable, known for his quick wit and sense of humor. He was a mentor to many in Clayton’s political scene, including ­former council member and mayor Julie Pierce, who considered him “a dear, dear friend.”

Even in his final weeks, Hoyer remained social, never missing a Wine Down ­Wednesday or Sunday Supper with friends. He was also an avid bocce player, showcasing his skills well into his centennial year.

Robert “Bob” Hoyer’s impact on Clayton will be felt for generations to come. His legacy of leadership, community service, and dedication to preserving Clayton’s heritage will forever be remembered and cherished by the residents of Clayton.

Related story: Obituary — Robert W. Hoyer, March 11, 1921 – Feb. 20, 2024