Robert D. Sodders
Robert D. “Bob” Sodders Jr., 61, a longtime resident of Alstead and formerly of Keene and Colebrook, died on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, at Cheshire Medical Center in Keene. Surrounded by song and held in the loving embrace of his family and friends, Bob left this world as peacefully as he had inhabited it.
On March 9, 1956, in East Meadow, N.Y., Bob was born the third son to the late Robert D. Sodders Sr. and Marie Sodders.
Bob set out from Long Island and into the world in 1978 and met and quickly fell in love with Bernadette. As family lore has it, they met on a Monday, went out on Friday, moved in together by the following Monday. Bob disarmed her skeptical family of towering siblings and parents with his characteristic wit, humor and charm. On June 25, 1983, morning rains beautifully and unseasonably swelled Beaver Brook Falls before receding into bright sunshine as Bob and Bernie declared to friends and family and the world the sacred vows they had long ago made to one another. They were loving partners for nearly 40 years, including their 34 years of marriage.
Not long after their wedding, Bob fell ill and lost most of the use of his legs, and Bernie’s mother fell ill and soon passed away. Bob and Bernie overcame illness, disability and parental loss to take care of their two young sons, Steven and Vinny, and Bernie’s younger sisters, Christie and Monica, to whom Bob was like a father. Through it all, Bob maintained his sense of humor, his sense of duty to his family and his determination not to let anything stop him.
From the first and to the last, Bob was a dedicated and giving family member who overcame adversity to touch the lives of those he loved. To his older fraternal twin brothers, Mike and Pat, Bob was a playmate and occasional “Rocketman” who stood on the short end of a 2-by-4 leaning against a cinder block while his brothers jumped on the long side. In this way Bob “inspected” the roof of their home in Centereach, N.Y. To his baby sister Pam, he was as much a father as he was a beloved older brother. After the end of his parents’ marriage when he was 12, Bob combed Pam’s hair, held her when she was sick, made her meals and got her ready for school and bedtime while their mother worked to keep the family afloat. In those years, Bob explored nature and developed his outdoorsman skills as a member of Explorer Post 686 “The Wood Nymphs.” Indoors, he indulged his lifelong love for singing with his childhood friends Joe and Jimmy Paviglianiti in the band Captain Brad. As the lead singer, Bob belted out “Ride Captain Ride” to open and close each of their performances amid screaming fans, surprised moms and envious friends! Bob read books, works of literature, science-fiction and history, quickly and voraciously. He was an avid chess player. Bob went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Franklin Pierce University in 1992 and after the birth of his youngest children, Sean and Sabrina, chose to continue giving his children the invaluable gift of his time, before and after school, on trips to parks and the library, and in hours listening to and loving each of them. For his children and many of their friends, Bob was the loving father they needed. Bob thought deeply, read widely, loved completely and lived incomparably. He imparted his love for nature to his children in numberless trips to Lake Warren to swim, to canoe and to pick wild blueberries on the shores of its island. Many people are loved, but Bob was the brightest, warmest star in our family constellation, whose light warmed us, whose presence centered us and whose absence will leave us missing him; always.
Bob is survived by his wife, Bernadette L. “Bernie” Sodders of Alstead; his four children, Steven D. Sodders and his wife, Jules, of Artesia, Calif., Vincent R. “Vinny” Sodders and his wife, Emily, of Gilsum, Sean M. Sodders of Alstead and Sabrina A. Sodders of Portland, Maine; his mother, Marie Sodders of New York; siblings, Mike Sodders and his wife, Laura, of New York, Pat Sodders of New York and Pam Losquadro and her husband, Joe, of New York; and three grandchildren, James Sodders, Teagan Kim-Sodders and Evelyn Sodders. In addition he leaves cousins, nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
In keeping with Bob’s wishes, there are no calling hours. A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, March 10, 2018, at 1 p.m. at the 3rd Congregational Church, 14 River St., Alstead. Donations can be made to: United Way 23 Center St. Keene, NH 03431 or to: Alstead Food Pantry / Fall Mountain Friendly Meal, 121 Main St. Alstead, NH 03602. Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories is in charge of arrangements.