Robert H. Tanguay (Bob) passed away Monday, July 11, 2016 after a long and courageous battle with lymphoma. Bob was born on February 8, 1937 to the late Ida and Harold Tanguay in Lowell, and was raised in Fitchburg. Bob leaves behind his beloved wife Holly, their daughter Laura, his three children with the late Joan Tanguay: John, Patricia and Jeannine, six grandchildren, and his sister Betty Irelan.
After graduating from Fitchburg High School with the class of 1954, Bob earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1960. Bob began his career at Sperry Corporation on Long Island. In 1967, he moved to Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, where he worked on electrical systems for a number of research and development projects. Some he could talk about and some he could not. He proudly designed controls and displays for the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle, commissioned by the United States Navy. At Draper Lab Bob found a professional home and long lasting friendships. He worked at the lab for 34 years and was a member of Draper’s Quarter Century Club.
Bob lived in Lexington for many years where he raised his first family. In 1986 he married Holly and a year later moved to Gloucester, where he resided until his death. Bob’s life was enriched by the birth of each grandchild: Jessica, Jason, Patrick, Nicole, Mikayla and Ava. For the last few months of his life daughter Laura and granddaughter Ava lived with Bob and Holly.
Bob loved nature and challenging himself, both physically and mentally. Hiking, running, camping, racquetball, tennis, and puzzles were but a few of his favorite pastimes. In his retirement years, he enjoyed ever more volunteer work. Bob was a hike leader, committee member and skilled volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club’s August Camp and Three Mile Island Camp on Lake Winnipesauke. He worked for several years on the restoration of Gloucester’s historic fishing schooner, Adventure. Later Bob gave his time and skill to the Audubon Society, the Trustees of Reservation’s, Appleton Farm, and the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church. Bob was the ultimate volunteer handyman: roofing cabins, replacing steeple windows, repairing historic gates, constructing playground equipment, and more. Bob’s final project was helping to build a wooden play structure which his fellow Appleton Farm volunteers have affectionately named Bob the Tractor.
Bob had a wry sense of humor which brightened every situation. His quick wit, never ending puns, and straight faced delivery endeared him to all. To those who knew him well, Bob was a meticulous worker, a steadfast companion, and a source of understated warmth. Upon first meeting Bob, an in-law commented, “You look like a good port in a storm.” He was indeed.
Bob wished to be cremated and have a memorial service at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church where he was a longtime volunteer. The service will be held Saturday, October 1 at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in his name to: Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
, Care Dimensions / Kaplan House Hospice Service, .