Horace “Bob” Salop, 86, of West Tisbury died on October 25 at Mass General Hospital after a long illness. He was a beloved father, grandfather, and friend who loved Martha’s Vineyard with a passion and spent the last 30 years as a full-time resident.
Bob was born on February 1, 1927, in New York City, to a family that owned bookstores in Manhattan, and he was raised in the Bronx. He graduated high school in 1943 at the age of 16, and attended college at Swarthmore. He served in the United States Navy during World War II, where he spent tours in the Pacific and Europe as the youngest officer in the Navy.
After graduating from Swarthmore, Bob received his Master’s in Education from New York University. He began his teaching career in the New York City public school system, spending time with middle-schoolers before he settled into a long-term position at the High School of Art & Design, where he was a very popular history teacher. After his retirement, Bob frequently received phone calls and letters — even as recently as this year — from students who remembered him fondly and wanted to stay in touch.
Bob and his family bought a house on the Vineyard in 1962, and when he retired from teaching in the mid-1980s, he moved to the Island for good. He loved the Vineyard, and could often be found at Menemsha taking pictures, or walking around the panhandle in West Tisbury with his dog. He was an avid fisherman in his younger years, and always loved the water. His favorite sport was tennis, which he both played and followed with great intensity. He was also a prolific reader — perhaps as a result of his family’s bookselling history — and was usually in the middle of at least two or three books at a time. In fact, Bob was both a patron and former trustee of the West Tisbury Public Library, serving on the board that oversaw the project to move the library to its current location.
Few things could take Bob from Martha’s Vineyard, but he could always be persuaded to embark on an off-Island excursion to visit his grandchildren, Rachel and Joshua. They were the apples of his eye, and he usually described them to acquaintances as the most beautiful, intelligent children he had ever met. Whenever they visited the island, a Trip to the Toy Box with Grandpa Bob was a priority.
He was a man who had simple needs, vast generosity, a great character, and a loving heart. Both family and friends will sorely miss him. He is survived by his sister, Shirley Swartz of Riverdale, N.Y., his son and daughter-in-law Alexander and Kate Salop of Thompson, Conn., and his grandchildren, Rachel and Joshua. A memorial service was held at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center on Monday, October 27. Donations may be made in his memory to the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1829, Edgartown, MA 02539.