Robert (Bob) MacGregor III, 87, longtime resident of Shelburne Falls, MA passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, MA after a sudden decline in health.
Bob was born Robert Burnham Hillman on June 6th, 1927 in Portland, ME. He was soon adopted as an infant by the late Robert MacGregor Jr., of Scotland and his wife, Arline (Campbell) MacGregor of Boston, MA. He was raised and educated in Orange, MA. It was there that he met and later wed the love of his life, Dorothy (Hayden) MacGregor on June 9th, 1951 in Orange, MA. They were happily married for nearly 63 years until Dorothy’s passing earlier this year.
After graduating high school, Bob enlisted in the US Navy, serving honorably during WWII as a rear gunner on Grumman TBF Avenger naval aircraft. During his tenure in the Navy he realized his fondness for flight, later earning his civilian pilot license and flying friends and family around the region in his own airplanes throughout most of his adult life. Bob was extremely proud of his military service and it was not at all uncommon to see him around town proudly wearing his US Navy ball cap. Bob later worked for most of his years as a machinist for Mayhew Tool Company, retiring in June, 1992.
Having a profound passion for helping children, Bob was instrumental in organizing the start of the first Big Brother/Big Sister program in Franklin County. He earned national recognition for his efforts and mentored numerous children throughout the area, forming many lasting relationships with “his kids.” He was also selected by the Town of Buckland as their District Building Committee Representative to assist in the planning and construction of the Franklin County Technical School. His inputs helped to lay the framework for the high school becoming an area destination for educating future tradesmen.
In addition to flying, Bob enjoyed attending Scottish Highland Games and was an avid New England sports fan. He was a long-time volunteer and proud member of the Shelburne Falls Senior Center, considering the staff and fellow members as his family. After retirement, he took pleasure working in his wood shop, often creating bird feeders and plant stands that he donated to support local seniors organizations. Other charitable contributions included various children’s and animal rescue causes, as he never met a child or animal he didn’t like.
Bob will be dearly missed by the many lives he has touched throughout the Pioneer Valley region, especially by his “Little Brother” of 40 years Dennis Sevene, and his fiance Erika Crocker, both of Colorado Springs and Greenfield natives who Bob and Dorothy considered as their own son and daughter-in law. He also leaves countless close friends who meant the world to him.
A special heartfelt thank you is extended to the amazing staffs of the Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Charlene Manor Extended Care Facility and the Shelburne Falls Senior Center for their professional care and compassion for Bob during the last several months.
A memorial service to celebrate Bob’s life will be held on Friday, December 19th at 11:00 a.m. at the Shelburne Falls Senior Center, 7 Main St, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370. In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that donations be made in the name of Robert MacGregor to: Shelburne Falls Senior Center, 7 Main St. Shelburne MA. 01370. Interment is planned at a later date in West Branch Cemetery, Colrain, MA. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Home, West Swanzey NH. WWW.cheshirefamilyfh.com.