Robert Herbst

Robert Fowler Herbst

1924 - 2012

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Obituary of Robert Fowler Herbst

Robert Fowler Herbst, long time resident of Essex, known for his deep love and involvement in his family and community, died Friday at the home he shared with his beloved partner Margo Valentine. Bob Herbst, son of Marion Fowler Herbst and William H. Herbst, Jr., was born and raised in New Bedford, MA, graduated from Phillips Andover Academy in 1943 before joining the Army-Air Force. In 1946 he married Dorothy Jean Landon and graduated from Yale in the Class of '49, on the GI Bill. After working at Burroughs Adding Machine Co, Bob took a position with the Essex Saving Bank, moving to Essex in 1954, and eventually becoming Director, President, and Chairman of the Board of the Bank. He and Dorothy were active in St. John's Episcopal Church, Gateway Counseling Center and the Board of Education. They we committed to and temporarily successful in bringing low cost housing to Essex, an idea which was later defeated by political pressure from residents concerned more for property values than human values. After Dorothy's death in 1983, Bob Herbst continued his community service by dedicating time and energy to Middlesex Hospital as Corporator, President of the Board and member of the Finance Board, of which he was still active at the time of his death. He was a Life Founder and Trustee of the Connecticut River Museum; active for many years in the Mile Creek Club Board; the 'Old Saybrook Camping Association' and the Finance Committee of the Estuary Council of Seniors. Of all these boards, his favorites were the Riverview Cemetery Association and the Middlesex Community Foundation. But Bob was not all about work. He was an excellent golfer, playing his favorite course at Yale into his 80's. He loved travel, golfing in Scotland, x-country skiing, ice skating and visiting the Vineyard in the fall. He was a dedicated member of St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Old Lyme and valued the sense of spiritual community there. He is survived by: Margo Valentine, his partner of 28 years; son Peter in Eagle, ID; grandchildren Jessica Miller and her fiance' Steve Reid; Trevor and Ian Herbst; nieces Martha Petersen and Sara Massa; nephew Michael Harvey; great nieces Wenonah Petersen; Katie Rinaldi; Julia Massa; Belle Harvey and great nephew Leaf Petersen; as well as by his extended 'adopted' Valentine family. He was the loved and revered patriarch of his family, friends and all who knew him. "Let your light so shine before men….." Bob Herbst was one of the last real gentleman with his unique ability to listen, his great sense humor, his dedication to bettering the world around him, his New England thriftiness, his gift of long lasting friendship and of course, his bow ties – a truly gentle man. A memorial service will be held at St. Ann's Episcopal Church, 82 Shore Road in Old Lyme on Friday morning, June 29th at 11:00AM. In keeping with his generous and humble spirit, as well as his expressed wishes – in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to any of the following: Women's Center of Southeastern CT, 16 Jay St., New London, CT 06320. Connecticut Junior Republic, Goshen Rd., P.O. Box 161 Litchfield, CT 06759, the Middlesex Community Foundation, 211 South Main St., Middletown, CT 06457, or to St. Ann's Episcopal Church, 82 Shore Rd., Old Lyme, CT 06371. To share a memory of Bob or send a condolence to his family please visit Arrangements by the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbrook.