Nature 14

Robert B. McTaggart

April 4, 1932 ~ June 15, 2020 (age 88)


Longmeadow, MA - Robert B. McTaggart passed away in his sleep on June 15th. Bob lived a long and wonderful life filled with love of family and love of learning. He was a collector of many things – ceramics, paintings, folk art, antiques, and flowers – and enjoyed helping promising artisans succeed in their crafts. In Longmeadow, he was known for his beautiful and abundant daylily gardens that adorned the family’s historic home on the town green. In beauty, Bob found love and his spirituality.
He leaves his wife Patricia and children Robert J. (Karen Parks), Ann (Scott), and John (Maricella), along with nine grandchildren (Robert P., Jameson, Katie, Natalie, Riley, Keeley, Chase, Rory, and Tanner) and one great-granddaughter Stevie.
Bob was born at home in Brooks, ME to Robert N. and Doris McTaggart. His parents were farmers and caretakers who instilled a strong work ethic and humility in their children – Margaret, Bob, and Charlene. Bob took great pride in his Maine roots, building a beautiful home on Great Pond later in life, and he talked about “golden pond” with anyone who would listen.
Bob was an exceptional student and remained a lifelong learner. He frequently talked about his transitions from a one-room school house in Rome, ME to graduation from Oakland High School at age 16, to a prep school scholarship at Hebron Academy, to a chemical engineering degree from the University of Maine Orono and to an MBA from American International College in Springfield, MA.
After interning for a couple of summers during college, Bob had a long and successful career with Monsanto in Indian Orchard, MA and met his future wife Patty in western Massachusetts through a Monsanto friend Ken Perry. The two married in 1959 at St. Mary’s Church in Willimansett, recently celebrating 60 years of marriage.
In the mid-1960’s, Bob was inspired by his life-long friend Dick Trepp who was remodeling an old home in Wilbraham. In 1966, Bob and Pat purchased a beautiful but dilapidated historic home on the Longmeadow green built in 1713. The home’s restoration and well-being became a half-century passion and effort. Christmas Eves were marked by special and memorable gatherings at 909 Longmeadow Street, full of laughs, oyster stew, and a good bottle of Scotch.
Bob enjoyed an early retirement from Monsanto in his early 50’s. Soon after, Bob and Pat packed their bags for a year and moved to Shanghai where Pat taught at Shanghai Second Medical University, and the two travelled extensively through China, making many lifelong friends. While Pat taught, Bob began a wholesale ceramics business in Shanghai and later imported goods into the US, largely for gardening and floral arranging.
Bob had a very gentle but strong and confident way about him. In his children and grandchildren, he instilled discipline, a love of learning, a love of Maine, and a genuine respect for his fellow humans. He rarely if ever spoke badly of people and went out of his way to learn about the interests of others so he could have authentic conversations with them. Believers in the power of education, he and Pat established the Rome Scholarship Fund to support local Maine youth in their college pursuits.
Through much of his life, Bob shared a special friendship with world-renowned ceramicist Brother Thomas Bezanson whom Bob and Pat befriended during Thomas’ years at the Benedictine Monastery in Weston, VT. Bob helped Brother Thomas later relocate his studio to become an artist-in-residence in the community of Benedictine Sisters in Erie, Pennsylvania. Like many others, Brother Thomas grew fond of summer in Maine with the McTaggart’s.
At Bob’s request, his life will be celebrated on the shores of Great Pond in Rome, ME, at some point in the future when family and friends can be together again.
A gift in Bob’s name to a charity of your choice would be meaningful to the family.

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