Obituary for Robert Maynard Alexander at Newport (2024)

Robert M. Alexander, 91, a longtime Craftsbury resident, died June 6, 2024 at Copley Hospital in Morrisville of complications from a hip fracture a week before at The Manor assisted living home.

Robert "Bob" was born March 18, 1933 in Irasburg VT to Maynard and Doris Alexander. He was the fifth of six children, or as a customer of his father's sawmill in town remarked: "Looks like you've got yourself a crew for the mill Maynard." Bob's older brother Fred actually took over the mill after Maynard died in 1960. Doris lived another 27 years in the family house next to the church on the common, where she was the town librarian. Four of his siblings (Edward, Marjorie, Fred and Janet) predeceased him, but younger sister Jean is still thriving down in Rutland.

After grade school in Irasburg Bob went to high school in Orleans where he was a star (or so he said) of the baseball team, whose fight song he could sing on demand even in his last years at The Manor. But his adult life really started when he met his wife of 67 years Roberta Spaulding of Craftsbury in the early 1950s at Urie's Pavilion dance hall on Shadow Lake in Glover, where he once locked her in a coat closet (briefly) to show off to his friends. But Roberta "Bobbie" knew he was from a good family and didn't hold it against him (or as her husband would repeat over the years to his sons: "Your mother was very choosey, but she chose me!")

Bob and Berta (HIS name for her) dated while he was attaining an engineering degree at Norwich University and she was at Green Mountain College in Poultney. They were married on Sept. 10, 1955 at the Church on Craftsbury Common, then headed west to Colorado, the Badlands of South Dakota and New Mexico while he worked on the building of the interstate system for the Federal Highway Administration. His career path eventually led them back to New England, where their sons Peter and John were born in the early '60s while living in Montpelier, before moving to Connecticut briefly while he attended Yale, then Woburn Mass. and then finally back to VT where he joined Engineers Incorporated with some fellow engineers in South Burlington.

In 1972 the family moved again to Concord NH where he became the Asssistant Traffic Engineer for the state, while Berta started a teaching career at Concord High School where she was State Teacher of the Year in 1981, an accomplishment that he spoke admiringly of for years afterwards. On nights and weekends he built a wooden power boat from scratch in a shed behind the garage, which had it's maiden voyage in the Atlantic in Portsmouth NH with no leaks to the relief of everyone.

In 1988 Bob and Berta moved back to VT after their boys were on their own to help Berta's parents Jerry and Gladys in their elder years in Craftsbury, he becoming a consulting engineer and she going into real estate. He eventually joined up with his old Engineers Inc. buddy Ken Pinkam at his firm in Burlington, though the family was apprehensive about his hour plus commute each way. Never ostentatious with his own vehicles, he drove two Yugos in succession until they disintegrated from wear.

He and Berta had several houses over the next 30 years, first on the common, then down the hill beside Lake Hosmer in Mill Village, where their last house, a Cape, arrived on 4 flatbeds from Canada. They loved the lake life with their various cats and chocolate labs, sailing and paddleboating and watching the wildlife, especially the loons and migrating geese. The home-made boat lived upside down on the back lawn in disrepair, though Bob always said he was going to get to it. When pressed on the matter he would use one of his favorite phrases from work: "Maybe yes, maybe no, but don't quote me." The boat was the last item removed from the property when the couple had to move to the Craftsbury Community Care Center (4Cs) in 2019 a year before the pandemic.

In the Fall of 2020, during covid, the couple was separated for 9 months after Roberta had to move to nursing at The Manor, but Bob was able to join her there in July of 2021 in the assisted living unit after the vaccines made it safe for everyone to get back together. With the purchase of a wheelchair van the family could go to McDonalds in Morrisville for the rest of that year along with drives back to Craftsbury and Irasburg ... and even favorite warm weather vaca spot York Beach Maine one last time, where Bob regaled his wife, sons, niece Jessica and a care giver for Roberta with his jokes and stories.

Roberta died the following year in July 2022 and Bob continued on for almost 2 years, watching the news on Ch 3, reading the Free Press and all his books on WWII and enjoying visits from his sons, especially his youngest John, who saw him twice a week without fail. When he turned 90 he denied it, saying we were all wrong and he was actually 80, but we didn't correct him. It was his highway of life and the engineer is always correct.

An outdoor memorial service will be held Sat., July 27 at 10am at the Craftsbury Village cemetery with Pastor Kim Larose, followed by refreshments at the Church on the Common. Memorial contributions may be made to the Craftsbury Community Care Center (4Cs) by mail at 1784 E. Craftsbury Rd., VT 05826. Online condolences may be made at curtis-britch.com. Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Curtis-Britch & Bouffard Funeral home & Cremation Service, locally family owned and operated.


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Obituary for Robert Maynard Alexander at Newport (2024)
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