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Robin's Story

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GLOUCESTER: Robin Leslie Saipe, 69, of Gloucester, formerly of Bethesda, Md., and Stoneham, died peacefully March 24, 2016, in Reading.

Born in Stoneham, Robin was the daughter of the late Lester and Lois R. (Barwood) Saipe. She was raised in Stoneham, attended Westbrook College, and graduated from the University of Maryland.

A long-time activist on behalf of humanitarian issues, Robin dedicated herself to the release of Jews from the Soviet Union and human rights causes in Eastern Europe. Robin worked for many years at the National Conference for Soviet Jewry in Washington, D.C., where she developed coalitions consisting of members of Congress, their spouses, and international bodies. With charm and humor, Robin was steadfast in doing "what was right" without allowing politics or personal agendas to steer her from that path.

While she enjoyed the international flavor of Washington, D.C. with its diversity of cuisines and people, and lived briefly in the Netherlands, Robin always thought of returning to Massachusetts. In the early 2000s, her life-long love of the ocean brought her back to Gloucester and Good Harbor Beach, where her parents had often returned after moving to Boca Raton, Fla. Settling in the Fort, she loved watching the fishing boats going in and out of the harbor from her bedroom window. Robin took great pleasure from the Gloucester and broader North Shore community. She worked as Director of the Retired and Senior Volunteers of the North Shore, managing more than 400 volunteers in 13 communities on the North Shore.

Unabashedly outgoing, Robin was always ready to make new friends with everyone she met, whether it was someone she met buying an air mattress through the classifieds or the assistants at Mass General North Shore. She was always game for new and unusual phases in life, including relocating to the Netherlands, and living for a few years in an international group house in the Washington metropolitan area. Everybody she met was touched by her warm, feisty personality and unique zeal for life, friends, and family. She was equally touched by the love and support of her wide circle of loved ones.

Robin found numerous outlets for her creativity, whether painting elaborate grape vines on watering cans, creating sculptures out of every-day materials, or writing poetry about her beloved Good Harbor Beach. She was extremely devoted to her pets, whom she considered members of the family.

She was the loving mother of Jonathan Hickman of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Geoffrey Hickman of San Diego. She is also survived by her sisters, Lee and Barbara; her nieces, Leslie McGrath and Rebekah Osborne; her nephews, Mark and Michael Sevilla, and her cousins, Jody Barwood, Sally Pecora-Saipe, Nancy Humphry, and Hank Saipe.

A funeral service will be held on Monday, March 28, 2016 at 11 a.m. at Anderson-Bryant Funeral Home, 4 Common St., Stoneham, followed by burial in Temple Adath Israel Cemetery, Lakeside Ave., Wakefield. For details, please call Anderson-Bryant Funeral Home at 781-438-0135. In lieu of flowers those desiring may send a memorial tribute to the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) or Cape Ann Animal Aid (http://www.capeannanimalaid.org).
Published on  March 26, 2016
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