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  • Writer's pictureJoan Gand

Historical Info on owner/builder Robert Liebner and family

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

We are the second owners of 807 La Jolla Rancho Rd. Here is some history on the original owners, who built the home.

Robert W. Liebner, a General Motors engineer who moved West to work at Convair, designed and built our home in 1961. A native of Flint, Michigan, he received an engineering degree from Michigan State University. He moved to San Diego County in 1951. After working at Convair Aerospace for 15 years, he became a contractor. He served in the Army during the Korean War. This San Diego Union obituary (below upper left) was published on March 21, 1980.

College photo of Robert Liebner

Bill and Becky Ivans

Becky was the true "spirit" of the home. Here is some background info from Renee S., the daughter of the original owner of the home:

"Bob Liebner designed the house along with my mother, Becky Ivans. Bob was a mechanical engineer and later a contractor who also did designs for owner build projects, even though he was not an architect. My mom came from Glen Ellyn, a suburb outside of Chicago. My parents divorced in 1961 or 1962, my mom remarried William Ivans immediately thereafter and they bought back the home that my mom had left my father in the divorce. We moved back in and friendly relations continued. Bill hired Bob to add the lower floor in 1962 and expand the carport in 1970. I was raised there with my sister Ginny and Dennis and Denise who were born in about 1963 and 1965. You will see from the newspaper article they hosted annual Christmas parties in the house for about 400-500 people. Bill also had a large vegetable garden in the leveled out area in the canyon and they had regular corn dinner parties with numerous card tables set up in the living room. Bill died in 1999 in a glider crash (he was still Chairman of the Board of Cohu Electronics and on several local business boards but was also a world class glider pilot. The passenger who also died in the glider crash with him in his self-launching, high performance glider was Don Engen, then head of the Wash DC Air & Space Museum and previous head of the FAA). Becky continued to live in the house until about 2014, when she moved to independent living at the Vi at La Jolla. Assorted grandkids lived at 807 during this time and we brought her home during her last days due to her love of the home. This clipping has a wonderful photo of Becky and one of her recipes!

Bill (2nd husband) and Becky. Bill was a famous glider pilot who eventually died in a glider crash. Bill worked at Convair, then became Chairman of the Board of Cohu Electronics.

Bill Ivan prepares his Sisu 1A for competition at the 30th National Soaring Championships at Harris Hill, NY in July, 1963.

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