Robert C. Buell

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Robert C. Buell

April 23, 1931 - September 25, 2018

Rye, NH - Robert Colby Buell, aged 87, of Rye, N.H., and formerly of Boxford, Mass., passed away on September 25, 2018. He was predeceased by his parents, Mary and Ted Buell, as well as is siblings, sister Marilyn Corning, sister Betsy Uhl, and brother David Buell. He is survived by his three sons and their wives, Ronald Buell and Maggie Sutherland of Piedmont, Calif., Stephen and Deborah Buell of North Reading, Mass., and John and Casey Buell of New Durham, N.H. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Ryan Buell, Liza Buell, Henry Buell, Amy Phillips, Leslie Lufkin, and Stevie Lewis; and one great-grandchild, Benjamin Phillips. He was married to Jean Wetmore Buell for 46 years, who predeceased him in November of 2005.

Bob, as he was affectionately known, was born on April 23, 1931, in Boston, Mass. He was raised in Wellesley, Mass., by his parents Mary and Ted Buell, and attended the Wellesley public schools. A gifted athlete, Bob particularly loved ice hockey and downhill skiing. Following his graduation from Wellesley High School, Bob attended Union College where he played ice hockey. After his sophomore year, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and served in Garmisch, Germany, until the war ended. Bob then returned to Boston University where he again played ice hockey, graduating in 1956 with a B.A. in Business. Bob worked in the Property and Casualty Insurance business for several firms in the greater Boston area for the next 60 years. He met Jean Wetmore in 1957 and they were married in 1959. They moved to Boxford, Mass., in 1960, where they raised their family.

Bob was very involved in local politics in Boxford, as well as coaching his sons in various sports with the Boxford Athletic Association. At the urging of the Essex County Republican Committee, Bob ran for the 12th Essex State Representative seat in 1968 and won. He served as State Representative for that district until 1979 when he ran for the 1st Essex, Middlesex State Senate seat being vacated by Sen. William Saltonstall. He won that race too, and served his constituency until 1995, when he retired from politics. During that time, he attained the role of Second Assistant Minority Leader twice. Bob never lost an election during his 26 years in public office. He was an old school politician who listened to his voters and frequently reached across the aisle to work out legislation.

Bob loved ice hockey and did not hang up his skates until after he turned 80 years old. He competed every summer after the age of 50 in the Snoopy Senior Men’s World Ice Hockey Tournament in Santa Rosa, Calif., helping his team win several championships there. Bob and Jean also loved to go downhill skiing in Europe. They took their honeymoon in the Swiss Alps to ski. After exploring multiple ski areas during the early years of their marriage in Switzerland, Germany, and Italy, they found Lech in Austria and returned there every January for many years. They made many friends there and after Jean passed, he skied there one last time with his three boys (who had never been before that). It was a memorable occasion for all.

Bob also loved his family summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee in Tuftonboro, N.H. His father Ted purchased the place in 1939, and Bob spent many summers there as a child. At one point his parents were considering selling it, and would have, had Bob not vehemently fought against the idea. He has spent summers there every year of his life up until this last one. And he will be laid to rest on that very beloved ground, next to his wife Jean.


A memorial service will be held to celebrate Bob’s life, his athleticism, his service to his country and community, and most importantly his love of family and friends on November 3, 2018, at 1 p.m., at the Boxford Congregational Church. A reception will be held following the service at the Ferncroft Country Club immediately afterwards.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Bob’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Published on October 4, 2018
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5 posts

Lillan groom
Oct 08, 2018
A loss of a great friend for more than 50 years. My love to Ronny, Stephen and John. I loved both your parents and treashered their friendship.
Kelly LaRocca
Oct 04, 2018
My condolences to family and friends.
Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
Biff Michaud
Oct 01, 2018
I'm very saddened to read about the death of my friend Senator Bob Buell. Bob was a politician the likes of Senators Kevin Harrington(D) and Bill Saltonstall (R) and Representative Frank Hatch (R) and J. Michael Ruane (D). A generation of politicians who were of different political philosophies but respected each other and worked together for the benefit of their citizens. We all benefited from their work and efforts on our behalf...boy do I miss the likes of these great men! I just want his family to know that I care...Bob was one of the GREATS!
J. Murph Yule
Oct 01, 2018
My deepest sympathy and respect to Bob Buell's three sons and family members with the passing of a great guy, their Dad, Senator Bob Buell. We always enjoyed our times first with Bob and Jean over the years and later with Bob visiting him in Boxford, his beautiful lake cottage, Ipswich, and later in Rye, NH. We enjoyed lunches and dinners together and over drinks discussions about family and politics. May Bob enjoy eternal peace and comfort as I am sure he will joining up with his lovely wife, Jean. RIP.
Donna Stefanile
Oct 01, 2018
I was very saddened to hear of Bob's passing. I am a retired town clerk from the town of Newbury Ma. Bob helped so much whenever we needed him. He was one of the most honest politicians I have ever known. He was a great person and always there to help. My husband and I are also avid hockey people and had many conversations about the Bruins and our boys and their hockey.
RIP Bob.