Robert Kelso Cassatt died September 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 Corporation in their Flight Test Department, where a new group of engineers and ex-pilots was 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, space vehicles to electronic systems. After Martin, 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 eighteen years on a farm near Baltimore, he and his wife, Sheila Simpson Cassatt and their three children moved to Brooksville, ME 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 the Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, on the Brooksville School Board, as a Trustee of George Stevens Academy, as Commodore of the Buck’s Harbor Yacht Club and as a member of the 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. Over the following years, he completed 1 transatlantic 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 eighty-one 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, MA; Robert K. Cassatt III and his wife Bertha of Atkinson, NH; and two granddaughters, Emma Cassatt Issenberg of Boston, MA and Cary Simpson Issenberg of Haverhill, MA and lastly, Mitzi, his Jack Russell terrier.
Tragically, Bob was predeceased by his wife, Eve Hamblett Cassatt, on Sept. 16, 2010. A conjoined service and reception honoring the lives of Bob and Eve was held at the Cassatt residence in Brooksville on Sept. 23rd.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice of Hancock County, 14 McKenzie Avenue, Ellsworth, ME 04605. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com
All condolences are read by Jordan Fernald staff before being published online, this process could take 24 to 48 hours.