Robert E. (Bob) Erlandson, in his 90th year, died peacefully on April 16, 2016, in Stowe, Vt. Bob was born on June 11, 1926, in Boston, to Edgar Erlandson and Anna McGrath.
Bob grew up in Milton and graduated from Milton High School in 1943. After high school he attended MIT, and a year into his studies left to serve in the Navy in the Pacific. He returned to MIT after the war, and received a degree in chemical engineering. He loved working in his chosen field, where his practical, analytical, and imaginative skills were so appreciated. Over the years he turned his mind to a multitude of challenges, including synthetic heart valves and space fabrics.
He married his high school sweetheart, Phyllis Warburton, in 1949. They were happily married for 54 years, until Phyllis lost her battle with cancer. Bob was an avid musician and a Big Band enthusiast. In his early years he played the trombone in the Kerrigan Kats (it’s how he met Phyllis), and loved pounding the keyboard, a night out at the Boston Pops, or simply listening to jazz in his car.
Martha’s Vineyard was Bob’s special place, the Island where he and Phyllis and their daughters and extended families spent so many happy times. Bob first visited the Island with his new bride Phyllis in 1949, established a seasonal home in the ’70s, and made it his full-time home for the past 13 years. On any summer day, you could find him playing tennis, golfing at Mink Meadows, or on Sengekontacket kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, or perhaps digging for quahogs, which he would later turn into the most delicious chowder or “baked stuffies.” When not outside playing, he was an avid reader and sudoku aficionado. He loved the simple pleasures.
A role model to his daughters and their families, Bob was a kind and private man, and would blush to think we all thought of him as “amazing.” He was grateful for all the blessings in his life, and lived that life fully. He will be missed by so many, and remembered by all whose lives he touched.
He is survived by his daughters Jane Tremblay and Barbara Puddicombe, his sons-in law Ritchie Tremblay and Michael Puddicombe, his grandchildren Sarah, Amy, Matthew, Gretchen, and Sam, and his great-grandchildren Mia, Noah, Rebecca, and Emily.
Donations in Bob’s memory may be made to Friends of Sengekontacket, P.O. Box 740, Edgartown, MA 02539 (sengetacket.org).