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GLOUCESTER: Robert “Bob” Crockett, 96, of Gloucester, passed away peacefully at his home in Annisquam, Mass., on October 5.

Born March 30, 1919 in Pelham, N.H. to Ethel and George Crockett, Bob lived a joyful, quiet childhood, forming an early interest in ham radio which he carried all through his life, as well as a love for the outdoors and camping. He was an Eagle Scout and spent many happy summers as a camper and then a counselor at Camp Samoset on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at Yale in 1941 (where he rowed on the crew team), Bob then worked for General Motors before enlisting in the Naval Officers Training School where he was one of the “90 day wonders” educated on the old ship “Prairie State” in the Hudson River. From there, he was sent to MIT where his radio skills were expanded to include the new technology of radar. He eventually became the Radar Officer for the USS Hickox and two other destroyer escorts in the Pacific theatre, often transferred from ship to ship by precarious breeches buoy.

While at MIT he met Mary Frances (“MF”) Cutler of Brookline, and married her in California in 1945 at the end of the war. They moved back to live in Weston, and raised their four children there. Bob worked for several research and development companies, during which he was involved with refining photo-composing devices for the Chinese language and for Index Medicus, just at the dawn of modern computing. Gradually he discovered an interest in real estate through facilities management, which evolved into residential sales.

The family spent many summers in Annisquam while the kids were growing up, and Bob and MF made a permanent move there in 2005, bravely rebuilding their summer house while in their 80’s to handle the challenges of winter on the coast. They both enjoyed traveling and visiting their far flung children. His young grandchildren were often put to bed with long invented stories made up on the spot, a task Bob thoroughly enjoyed and the grandkids relished.

Bob loved tennis, musicals, and in his later years took up watercolor painting for relaxation and enjoyment. His love for ham radio never dimmed, and his W1LF call letters have been received by thousands of other radio buffs around the world. Jokes and puns delighted his sense of humor, and he was not shy about sharing groaners with the large group of people who counted themselves lucky to be among this gentle man’s friends.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Mary Frances, and their four children, Barbara Collins of Snohomish, Wash., Beverly Crockett (Sam Brown) of Cambridge, Maine, Robert Crockett Jr. (Patte Silvia) of Manchester, Mass., and William Crockett of Vrindaban, India, as well as four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, October 12, at 11 a.m. at the Annisquam Village Church, 820 Washington Street, Gloucester. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Care Dimensions, 75 Sylvan Street, Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923, or Cape Ann Animal Aid, 4 Paws Lane, Gloucester MA 01930. Funeral arrangements are by Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington St., Gloucester. For online condolences, please visit greelyfuneralhome.com.
Published on  October 8, 2015
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