ROBERT KELSO CASSATT

Posted Sept. 27, 2010, at 7:09 p.m.

BROOKSVILLE – Robert Kelso Cassatt died Sept. 22, 2010, at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. He was born March 3, 1929, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to Alexander Johnston Cassatt and Cassandra Stewart Cassatt. Bob graduated from St. Mark’s School and attended Harvard from 1947 to 1950, leaving before graduation to join the U.S. Air Force. He served his country for five years, flying 53 missions as a first lieutenant pilot in F-86 Sabre fighter-bombers during the later stages of the Korean War. Afterwards he flew a variety of fighter aircraft involved in an experimental fighter-bomber program. Upon discharge he went to work in Baltimore for Martin-Marietta Corp. in their Flight Test Department, where a new group of engineers and ex-pilots were being formed for the purpose of evaluating aircraft from a “human engineering” point of view. He worked on a variety of projects ranging from aircraft, missiles and space vehicles to electronic systems. After working for Martin-Marietta Corp., he did the same type of work for the U.S. Army as a civilian engineer for the U.S. Army Human Engineering Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground. After living for nearly 18 years on a farm near Baltimore, he and his wife, Sheila Simpson Cassatt, and their three children moved to Brooksville in 1972, where they both soon became deeply involved with the local community, serving on numerous boards and community organizations. Amongst other positions, Bob served as a director of Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, was on Brooksville School Board, served as a trustee of George Stevens Academy, as commodore of Buck’s Harbor Yacht Club and was a member of Ocean Cruising Club. Bob also became engaged in restoring and building furniture and lobstered for some 10 years. After the death of his wife, Sheila, in 1985, Bob devoted much of the rest of his life to sailing and bluewater cruising. During the next years, he completed one trans-atlantic passage and some 36 ocean passages between Brooksville and the Caribbean. Upon reaching the age of 65, Bob participated in the annual Maine Retired Skippers Race for 16 years. He was especially proud to have placed ninth in the 2010 race, just one month ago, at the age of 81 and despite suffering from Parkinson’s disease. During all of these passages and races, he was crewed and accompanied by many friends and companions who shared his love of sailing and of the sea. Bob is survived by his three children, Lydia Cassatt Osgood and her husband, Philip, of Brooksville, Simmie Cassatt Issenberg and her husband, Peter, of Haverhill, Mass., and Robert K. Cassatt III and his wife, Bertha, of Atkinson, N.H.; two granddaughters, Emma Cassatt Issenberg of Boston and Cary Simpson Issenberg of Haverhill, Mass.; and lastly, his Jack Russell terrier, Mitzi. Tragically, Bob was predeceased by his wife, Eve Hamblett Cassatt, Sept. 16, 2010. A conjoined service and reception honoring the lives of Bob and Eve was held Sept. 23, at the Cassatt residence in Brooksville. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice of Hancock County, 14 McKenzie Ave., Ellsworth, ME 04605. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.

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