Robert E.'s Story
Robert E. Veltman, 69, of Gloucester, Mass., and a lifelong sailor, unexpectedly crossed the bar doing what he loved - fine-tuning the “Evolution,” an Aerodyne 38 (sailboat), on November 11, 2016.
Born to Herbert and Iva Veltman (Starker) on July 7, 1947, in Albany, N.Y., Bobby was a graduate of the Bethlehem Central High School, Class of 1966. Post-graduation, Bobby went on to serve in the United States Army where he was stationed in Korea during the Vietnam War. He was honorably discharged in 1973.
Bobby was a free spirit who spent his life following his passions, skiing and sailing. After spending a few years skiing competitively in Colorado, Bobby eventually settled in Massachusetts to pursue his love of the sea.
In Massachusetts, Bobby worked for Hood Sailmakers and Hood Yacht Systems and continued to hone his craft, racing professionally in Newport/Bermuda, Annapolis/Newport, and the Southern Ocean Racing Conference, as well as serving as the professional on the IOR Pioneer 50. He spent the last 29 years working as the Yard Manager at Brown’s Yacht Yard in Gloucester, where his co-workers became his second family, and everyone he met became a friend.
Bobby was predeceased by his father, Herbert, and is survived by his mother, Iva, in addition to six brothers, Timothy Veltman (Linda) of Delmar, N.Y., Steven Veltman (Anne) of Altamont, N.Y., Frederick Veltman (Barbara) of Feura Bush, N.Y., Shawn Veltman (Ina Hoeshele) of Christiansburg, Va., David Veltman (Karen) of Slingerlands, N.Y., and Donald Veltman of Delmar, N.Y.; and four sisters, Cheryl Veltman of Morrisville, N.C., Susan Eickof of Panama City, Fla., Cynthia Fowles of Delmar, N.Y., and Holly Schmidt (Peter) of Delmar, N.Y.; as well as many nieces and nephews. While mourned by the family he was born into, Bobby’s loss is also grieved by the many friends who comprised his Gloucester “family,” each member chosen over the years.
Bobby’s final big race was Marblehead/Halifax on “Evolution,” in which he was the key player and earned a second-place finish. His last assignment was fine-tuning “Evolution’s” brand new carbon fiber Hall spar and he was ready to go full tilt next season with a handpicked crew that he had mentored over many years.
In order that his love for the sea and his passion for mentoring young sailors lives on, the family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to Sail GHS, Inc. (local high school sailing program of which Bob was an enthusiastic supporter) for the Robert E. Veltman Memorial Fund, c/o Cape Ann Savings Bank, 109 Main St., Gloucester, MA 01931. Sail GHS is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides boats and coaching for both a high school sailing team and summer sailing program at no cost to students who cannot afford to belong to any of the local yacht clubs.
A memorial service celebrating Bobby’s life will be held on Sunday, December 4, 2016, at Annisquam Village Church, 820 Washington St., Gloucester at 2:30 p.m. For online condolences and register book, please visit www.pikenewhall.com.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Pike-Newhall Funeral Home, 61 Middle St., Gloucester.
Published on  November 30, 2016