Memories and Tributes
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From: Ted Truman
January 18, 2009
He was a denizen of the first floor of James our freshman year where Peter Barnett and I lived. My memory is that he was one of the few who did not play bridge. I instantly recognized him at reunion at the reception Saturday evening but did not have much of a chance to talk with him with the crush of everything else that was going on. (His face was disfigured as the result, I think, of cancer, perhaps, of the jaw.) Therefore, I called him a few weeks later, and we had a good talk. What I remember from our conversation was the following.
This was his first time back at Amherst even though he lived much of his post-college life less than an hour away in Worcester. His father and uncle were in the class of 1937, so maybe like some others he had had too much of Amherst. I did not ask him, but he showed no hostility toward the college. He just said that the reunions came a busy times of the year for him, and he never bothered to go. That Saturday he decided to come over, and it was clear that he enjoyed it. He must have talked with some people. (Bob Powers who was there, and also lived on the first floor of James. I cannot remember if they were roommates.) He said he would come to our 50th. We talked a bit about his career. Education was clearly his thing, and I had the impression that he was pleased about what he had been doing even if it was not all for which he had once hoped.
Tad, I would try to reach his sister who might be willing to share something of Bob's/Robert's reactions to his evening with us.
I hope that others who talked with him or knew him at Amherst can fill in some of the blanks.
We should be happy that he came because he was happy he came.
Keep the faith,
Rob was gentle, shy and sensitive - a generous soul. He had a serenity, a wry sense of humor, and an innate kindness. He was pleased to join us for his first reunion, our 45th; Amherst meant a great deal to him. Starting on the first floor of James, he became a member of Theta Xi. Education was clearly “his thing;” “I had the impression that he was pleased about what he had been doing.” “It was obvious he had put his heart and soul into his work.” “his students …were very fortunate to have such a caring and conscientious teacher and friend.”
“Rob never married, but …..was willing, almost eager, to talk about his relationships with the women in his life. He seemed very traditional, almost formal, in his dating life, and, ever the optimist, thought there still might be someone for him. I found this side of him charming, and he certainly was willing to open up his inner feelings to those he talked with.”
He was fun and interesting to be with – “we would laugh about "old ghosts" that needed to be exorcised, and he had very wide-ranging interests.”