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From Colleagues to Companions: Dr. Roberta Baade & Dr. George Yee

When Dr. George Yee met Roberta (Robbi) Baade in Denver in 1972, they had no idea that their friendship would blossom into love. “It’s one of those eternal love stories,” said George. A love story built on a foundation of mutual respect, and sustained through encouragement. 

George was Dean of Students at the Community College of Denver when he encouraged his assistant Roberta to quit and pursue her doctorate. “He always encouraged me to do more,” said Roberta. “He would say, ‘there are a lot of people who are ABD – all but dissertation – except for you. You’re not going to be ABD!’” Roberta enrolled in the University of Colorado to study social psychology and received her Ph.D. in 1979.

Despite her academic accomplishments, Roberta knew something was missing when she left the Community College of Denver. The seeds of love had been planted. “We didn’t recognize how much we meant to each other until I quit,” said Roberta. 

A Spontaneous Marriage Proposal

By the late 1970s, George, who had received his Doctorate in Education, Counseling and Psychology from Penn State University in 1964, was serving as President of San Diego Miramar College. Roberta was going through a divorce and called George, asking if he had any jobs available in San Diego. He did; Roberta became the grant administrator for an outreach program at Miramar.

While at Miramar, the former colleagues could no longer deny their love for one another. Soon thereafter, Roberta accepted a teaching job at Pepperdine University, near Los Angeles. With George still in San Diego, the couple decided to move to San Clemente, where they could be halfway between their jobs for an easier commute – a compromise they made to ensure the continued happiness in their relationship. And as their love continued to blossom, the couple decided to take the next step in their relationship: marriage. 

“One evening, George asked me, ‘are you teaching this weekend?’ and I said, ‘no, I’m open.’  And he said, ‘well why don’t we go to Vegas and get married?’ And that’s just what we did.” 

Roberta’s Career Takes Center Stage
After several years of teaching Roberta moved into the corporate world — first with the City of San Diego’s Organization Effectiveness Unit, and then on to Jack-in-the-Box to run their corporate franchise training.  By 1983, Roberta was working at General Dynamics in the Convair Division. In 1989 she was promoted to their corporate headquarters in St. Louis, and George took an early retirement so they could make the move. That choice is acknowledged by Roberta to this day as a decision that built the foundation of respect between the couple. 

“He gave up his job for his wife, which wasn’t really done back then,” she said. 

Soon thereafter, Roberta became the first female vice president at General Dynamics and was transferred back to San Diego to become the Vice President of Human Resources for Space Systems Division.  Following her stint at General Dynamics, Roberta would go on to become the Vice President of Human Resources for Jenny Craig. When Jenny Craig was sold to Nestle, the couple took the opportunity to cash in Roberta’s stock options and travel the world – and focus on each other. 

Moving to Vi at La Jolla Village

After each having successful careers, the couple made the decision in 2015 to “settle down” at Vi at La Jolla Village. 

“We were living a half mile from here, and watched the north tower get built,” said Roberta. “We never thought that we would be interested in anything like this, but as years went on, we decided that this is a lifestyle that is right for us now and in the future years.” 

Sharing Delicious Meals Every Day 
Their decision to retire to Vi has given George and Roberta the opportunity to enjoy more time at home, explore new hobbies, and revisit old ones. 

“We still like to work out at least three to four times a week,” Roberta said. “Though our 5k runs are a bit slower now than the runs we did back in the day!” 

And while the couple enjoys the dining experiences available at Vi, Roberta has taken up a new hobby: cooking. 

“All of those years I was working or traveling on the job, George would do the cooking when he was in town,” Roberta said. “After I retired, I started taking classes at the local cooking schools, and I began to appreciate the creativity of making food, and the sense of accomplishment and pleasure to set a plate of food in front of someone that you love.”
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