Robert William Macomber Sr.

OBIT MacomberBob Macomber: “A gentle, kind, loving, intelligent man”

flagCASTINE — Robert “Bob” William Macomber Sr., 84, passed away peacefully at his home in Castine on Friday, March 13, 2015. His twins, Joseph and Jane, were by his side.

Bob was born Aug. 27, 1930, in Portland, at the Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 1932, his family moved to Castine, which became his lifelong home. Bob attended Castine Normal School and graduated from Castine High School in 1948. He briefly attended the University of Maine and later served in the United States Air Force from 1951-1955. During this memorable time in Bob’s life, he made numerous wonderful lifelong friends and had a grand time seeing many parts of the world.

Bob possessed a deep and undying love for Castine and a passionate appreciation of the community’s history and its inhabitants. A witty storyteller, with the ability to connect with anyone, all who met Bob were treated to tales of Castine and its cast of characters.

Bob was gentle, kind, loving, and had an abiding interest in many things. An extremely intelligent individual, his keen intellect was as unassuming as it was prodigious. Bob was a voracious reader, delving into all subjects of interest with equal enthusiasm. He could converse with anyone about most any subject, from toddlers to well-known politicians.

Bob’s Italian heritage shone through in his culinary skills . . . Bob Macomber knew his way around a kitchen. He worked at his daughter-in-law’s and son Joe’s Bakehouse for many years, with some of his recipes still used there today. His cooking legacy also includes his grandson Caleb’s love of the culinary arts being derived from “Grampa Bob’s” passion for cooking delicious family meals.

Bob was a master carpenter who had a special fondness for colonial architecture. He left his imprint on many houses and establishments in Castine, from his brother Bill’s house to his son Joe’s house to the Avery House to the John Perkins House to the house at Dyce’s Head that his son, Paul, built for him.

Bob’s creative endeavors didn’t stop there, though. He was a self-taught photographer, with a natural eye for capturing the true flavor of everything at which he aimed his lens.

With his brother, Bill, and dear friend, John Gardner, Bob owned and operated a scallop dragger during the 1970s. Though comprising only four of his 84 years, the times aboard the Walter D. Ordway provided a host of treasured enduring memories for him.

Bob loved the ocean, boats, and especially the Back Shore. There were many parties there with his family and friends, including a weekend party in the early days where he even brought his piano down for entertainment.

Bob’s love and wide-ranging knowledge of sports was a constant focal point of his life. An avid golf, basketball, and baseball fan — the sports he played as a youth — his appreciation of the athletic talents of Arnold Palmer, Bob Cousy, and Ted Williams rivaled his love of the musical genius of Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra and Dizzy Gillespie.

As a young man, Bob played the trumpet. His times playing at local dances in Castine, and later in the Air Force, formed treasured lifelong memories for him. As the years went by, his knowledge of — and appreciation for — music only grew. A true jazz man, Bob’s love of the genre was so intense that it frequently moved him to tears.

The thing in life that Bob most loved, however, was his family. Whether teaching his granddaughter, Danielle, to sing “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” thoroughly enjoying the delightful visits by his other granddaughters to Castine, watching his grandsons for the weekend, talking sports with his boys, or literature with his girls, Bob loved each and every one of them fiercely.

At the end of his life, all of Bob’s nurses and outside caregivers remarked about how his family took such good care of him. This is a reflection of his tremendous love for them, and theirs for him. In fact, Joe’s dedication as a round-the-clock caregiver to his father during the final years of his life was nothing short of heroic.

These yeoman efforts of his son, Joe, are a tremendous tribute to the legacy of love bestowed upon his family by Bob. Indeed, it is a shining example of Bob Macomber fulfilling well the litmus test for life suggested by the noted investor and philanthropist Warren Buffet:

“When you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life.”

Bob is survived by the love of his life and best friend, the beautiful woman he married in 1956, Margaret (Allen) Macomber, of Amherst, Mass.; his devoted children, Robert Macomber Jr. and his wife, Phyl (Totaro) Macomber, of West Windsor, Vt.; Laura Macomber of Amherst, Mass.; Sarah Nyarko, and her husband, John Nyarko, of Sunderland, Mass.; Jane Macomber of Portland; Joseph Macomber of Castine; Paul Macomber and his wife, Sasha (Meador) Macomber, of San Anselmo, Calif.; his precious grandchildren, Danielle Macomber, Samantha Nyarko, Serena Nyarko, Justin Satterfield, Caleb Satterfield, Vivi Macomber, and Coco Macomber; his loving, devoted, always-there-for-him sister, Mary Weissblum, of Gloucester, Mass.; and steadfastly loyal lifelong friends, John Gardner and Jim Hatch. He has many much-loved nieces, nephews, and cousins as well. Bob was predeceased by his adored parents, Austin B. Macomber and Ida (Orino) Macomber; his never-forgotten daughter, Cora Smith Macomber; and his beloved, ever-kind brother and cherished friend, William F. Macomber Sr.

A memorial service and reception for Bob will be held on Saturday, June 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. It will be held at his son Joe’s house, which is located at 590 The Shore Road (Route 166A) in Castine. Coming from Bucksport on Route 175, when you see a sign that says “Welcome to Historic Castine” at a fork in the road where Route 166A goes to the right and Route 166 goes to the left, please bear right on Route 166A and you will find Joe’s house one mile ahead on the right-hand side of Route 166A. Following the reception, there will be a beach party at The Back Shore in Castine. It will begin at 5 p.m., with hot dogs and marshmallows provided.

In lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to express a remembrance in Bob’s memory may: 1) donate to the truly marvelous organization whose WONDERFUL staff members helped care for him in the latter stages of his Life: Hancock County Homecare & Hospice, P.O. Box 655, Ellsworth, ME 04605; 2) given Bob’s lifelong love of books, donate to Witherle Memorial Library, P.O. Box 202, Castine, ME 04421; or 3) simply give a book to anyone you think might enjoy one . . . especially a young person, whose life might be immeasurably enhanced by reading and learning, such as Bob’s was.


Know when to pay your respects.