Robert “Bob” Murray Melcher

FT. MYERS, Fla. – Robert “Bob” Murray Melcher, 61, passed away Monday, April 27, 2020 in Fort Myers, Fla. after a 14 year bravely fought battle with cancer. Bob passed having no regrets. He lived with an unwavering focus on what mattered most; spending quality time with friends and loved ones. He was so many things to those lucky enough to be part of his life. He was a family man who made every family vacation memorable. He knew the importance of the perfect fire-poking stick when camping, and that catching fish was secondary to the enjoyment of being in nature. His kids fondly remember their dad creating a scene by wrestling an inflatable alligator in the middle of Sebec Lake just to make them laugh. More recently as a grandfather he would put aside his own fatigue to create memories with the boys, whether it was a special Papa and Jude-only adventure to Lake Boon or playing trains on the floor. He was beloved for his sense of humor, characterized by quick one-liners and comebacks, and a well-known talent for storytelling. He would do the unexpected to get a laugh and energized family events with his lighthearted antics; a quality that he clearly inherited from his father. He could be counted on to lighten your mood and could make you feel better if something broke or needed to be replaced by exclaiming, “well that will keep the workers at the ______ Factory in business.” Bob was a trusted confidant and friend. He was the first guy you wanted to call to celebrate exciting news and someone you could rely on to help you make a major decision. He gave sound and wise advice because he had an innate ability to see things from multiple perspectives and gently pushed people to challenge their own beliefs. He was a true outdoorsman who enjoyed camping and adventures throughout Maine. He was an avid fisherman with a particular passion for fly-fishing. If you had asked Bob his favorite fish to catch, it would have been a native Brook Trout with a bright red belly, preferably caught from a small pond in northern Maine. Some of his favorite places and most memorable trips were in the West Forks area, Pleasant Ridge, Flagstaff Lake and surrounding ponds, Rangeley Lake, the Rapid River, Greenville area, Eagle Lake, and Horseshoe Pond. Bob continued his love for fishing in Florida, owning a flats boat and playing captain to a revolving door of visitors, fishing for Sea Trout, Redfish, Snook, shark, and Tarpon. In the last few years of his life he began to explore out west, taking trips to Montana, and Utah, fishing for Brown, Rainbow, and Cutthroat Trout in the Gallatin, Yellowstone, Madison, and Green rivers. Recently Bob was able to fulfill a bucket list fishing adventure, catching Bonefish on the flats of Andros Island in the Bahamas.Golf was a part of Bob’s life for many years. In Maine he could often be found walking the fairways at Lakewood with his buddy John Gilley. In Florida the guys started an annual trip dubbed “Mancation” where primary activities were golf, fishing, and stopping for a beer at every watering hole they passed. In the fall of 1990, Bob started a deer cutting business from his garage in Cornville, Maine. While the business was hard work, it was also all about fun, camaraderie, and drinking beer with buddies and patrons. In 1993, close friends Dave and Liz Kinney became involved to fund a vacation to Saint Martin. Their involvement continued and the business eventually moved to the shop on Dave’s property where he operates it to this day. Bob had a 40 year career in the retail grocery industry that began in central Maine with Hannaford and its independents and carried him to Fort Myers, Fla. in 2005 with its affiliate Sweetbay. Starting as a teenager bagging groceries, he eventually learned the meat cutting trade before finding his true calling as a leader, mentor and manager of people. His thoughtful, people-focused approach garnered profound respect and had a lasting impact on those he managed. Central to his unique style of leadership was a genuine interest in bringing joy to the workplace. As a district manager he was known to invite his store managers to leave work a few hours early for what he deemed “Executive Committee Meetings”, where they handled Very Important Business at a local bar. Bob could be counted on to make any job or chore fun, usually with the promise of a beer to celebrate when the task was complete. He retired in 2014 seeking some quality time to enjoy life without the pressures of work as his illness progressed. Taking it easy was hard for Bob. He spent his retirement years working to remodel his home in Fort Myers, sometimes surprising himself with what he could learn and accomplish using a few instructional videos on YouTube. Bob was born April 24, 1959 in Wurzburg, Germany to late father Robert Melcher and mother Rhoda Melcher. He was raised in Norridgewock, Maine and expressed gratitude for what he described as an idyllic childhood. Bob had a love for sports that started at an early age- playing football and baseball throughout his school years. He graduated from Belfast Area High School in 1977. Bob was a proud member of the Skowhegan-Madison, Maine Elks Lodge 2531 for 24 years. He is predeceased by his father Robert Melcher.He is survived by his wife Erica Jensen Melcher; children Justin Melcher, and Kelly Melcher and her husband Huy Le; and grandchildren Jude and Eliot Melcher Le; mother Rhoda (Cameron) Melcher; siblings Dwayne and Ming Melcher, Cindy and Doug Wyman, Jeff and Jenny Melcher, and Anne and Mike Latendresse; nieces and nephews Daryl and Danielle Wyman, Jim and Beth Melcher, Kristin and Jason Brown, Colleen Melcher, Colette Latendresse and Kassidy Latendresse; in-laws Larry and Joyce Jensen, and Amber Jensen and Norman Jewett; former spouse and mother of his children Andrea Friend; and many beloved cousins.There will be a private remembrance for Bob’s family and friends at a socially-responsible time in the future. Bob’s family has found it comforting to reminisce and share their stories about time spent with him. To help us honor and remember Bob, please send your favorite stories featuring him to storiesaboutbobmelcher@gmail.com. Stories will be complied and distributed to family and friends at a later date.In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Bob’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; this was a cause that Bob supported following his own cancer diagnosis: www.stjude.org/donate

Robert “Bob” Murray Melcher


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