Robert C. Andrews, 83, of Mashpee, Mass., formerly of Keene, passed away peacefully on Feb. 13, 2021, at JML Care Center in Falmouth, Mass.
He was the beloved husband of the late Emily (Steere) Andrews of Oak Bluffs, Mass., with whom he shared 48 wonderful years of marriage. Robert was born in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1937, to the late Edwin and Valerie (Czajkowski) Andrews. “Bobby” was raised in the Vineyard Haven, Mass., home his father hand-built during the Great Depression. He attended all 12 grades at the Tisbury Public School, graduated from Fitchburg State Teacher’s College with a B.S. Ed. ‘59, and returned to teach at the newly-opened Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He married Emily on Aug. 20, 1960, and they moved to start a family in Chelmsford, Mass. Robert attended Northeastern University in Boston, earning a M. Ed. ‘65, and proudly received his Ed.D. ‘84 from UMass-Amherst.
At Keene State College, Robert enjoyed a 33-year career as a tenured professor of industrial arts and technology, Dean of Graduate Studies and Program Development, and Director of Teacher Education. He had a deep commitment to excellence in higher education, and “Dr. Dean Bob Andrews” was well-known among students, colleagues, and international exchange families in England. Robert and Emily were founding members of the KSC Gourmet Group, who met monthly for over three decades to enjoy fine foods and lasting friendships.
For 13 summers, Robert and Emily co-managed the Sandy Island Family Camp of the Greater Boston YMCA on Lake Winnipesaukee. Later, they returned to Martha’s Vineyard with their sons to build a quaint cottage in the woods next to his family homestead. As a native of “America’s resort,” Robert’s love of the island inspired his rich and colorful storytelling while giving bus tours to the seasonal visitors.
In West Keene, the family attended St. Margaret Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, where Robert served as a lay minister and choir director. During their golden years, Robert and Emily settled in Surry, where they designed and built a modern custom home, “Highridge,” surrounded by scenic views of the village and Ashuelot River valley. There he served as town selectman for nearly a decade, providing leadership to the small community they so loved. Upon his retirement from Keene State College, they moved to Mashpee, Mass., closer to family on Cape Cod.
Robert and Emily enjoyed travel in Europe and across the United States, visiting relatives, scenic national parks and historic sites. A lifelong passion for photography, shared with his sons, leaves a legacy of heirloom memories. Robert cherished spending time with family and friends. His defining character and personality were larger than life, and the progression of Parkinson’s disease did not impede his positive spirit and infectious humor, shared so freely with everyone he met. In his final years at JML Care Center, he was known as “The Mayor,” bringing joy and levity to the nursing staff and residents each day. He will be missed greatly by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Robert is survived by his sons, Michael and Peter Andrews, of Hayward, Calif.; his grandson, Benjamin, and great-grandson, Noah Andrews, of Portland, Ore.; his daughter-in-law, Betsy Andrews, of Portland, Ore.; his sister, Ann Pearl Sylvia, of Falmouth, Mass.; and his dear friend and travel companion, Elizabeth Zinn, of Spofford. Robert joins his son, David; his wife, Emily; and his older brother, Edwin Jr., in peace.
Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, 74 Algonquin Ave. (Route 151), Mashpee, Mass. Afterward, a Catholic Mass will celebrate his life at noon in Christ the King Parish, 5 Job’s Fishing Road, Mashpee, Mass. He will be laid to rest Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, at 1 p.m. in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Tisbury, Mass.
To view an online guestbook and for further information: www.ccgfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, a “Tribute Gift” may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation: www.parkinson.org/ways-to-give.