Robert Martin Sprague, age 81, died peacefully at High Pointe House in Haverhill, MA, on February 26, 2019.
Bob was born in North Adams, MA to Edith (Wilder) and Lafayette Sprague and was the last-surviving of their eight children. His beloved siblings were Gail, Marilyn, Ronnie, Bert, Milt, Stu, and Fay (Junie). He was pre-deceased by his sisters-in-law, Ginny, Sis, Eileen, and Carmen. Bob embraced his North Adams upbringing and graduated from Drury High School in 1955, holding the office of class president.
Bob was a member of the Army National Guard, attended North Adams State College and went on to graduate from the University of Miami, where his passion for teaching English was sparked and nurtured.
Bob taught in Newburyport, MA, first at the Jackman School and soon after, Newburyport High School, where he taught English and later on became department chairman. Bob was the first recipient of the Molin Award for teaching excellence voted by his peers, earning the reputation of maintaining high standards for his students and dedicated to helping them write well.
Throughout Bob’s 28-year teaching career, he worked part-time as a bartender at the Highway Inn, EJ’s, and the Park Lunch in Newburyport.
Upon retiring from teaching in 1992, Bob served as a crossing guard for ten years and delighted in his interactions with the kids each day.
Bob loved children and animals – his face lit up in their presence. He kept a garden for many years and enjoyed summer hours tending his vegetables. He enjoyed listening to music, favoring jazz, Latin jazz, and Celtic. He especially loved the many trips to Ireland he made with Kate to research his grandmother’s Limerick roots and to take in local traditional music and the warm atmosphere of pubs all over Ireland. Although reticent himself, Bob enjoyed the camaraderie and banter of pubs and bars wherever he went.
Bob is survived by his wife of 29 years, Kathleen (Kate) Drury of Amesbury, MA, his sons Scott, of Amesbury, MA, Chris and wife, Mary, of Lock Haven, PA, granddaughter Sarah and husband Anthony of Maynard, MA, grandson Jack and partner Courtney of Charleston, SC; grandsons, Matthew, Sean, Thomas, and Stephen of Lock Haven, PA, great-granddaughters, Caydence and Keeley of Maynard, MA, and first wife, Dorothy Sprague, of Newburyport.
Bob is also survived by his dear sister-in-law, Barbara Sprague, of North Adams, MA, his brother-in-law, Paul Pirnie of Feeding Hills, MA, his sisters-in-law Mary Claire Kruger and husband Stephen of Pottersville, NJ, Elizabeth Rigby of Manasquan, NJ, and brother-in-law Creighton Drury and wife Valarie of Siesta Key, FL. Bob also leaves many beloved nieces and nephews.
Bob was a self-confident, humble man with a strong set of values. He rarely judged others, didn’t seek approval and thus lived a contented life.
He will be sorely missed for his wry sense of humor, the twinkle in his eye, his teasing, and his love of a good laugh.
“But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all.” - The Parting Glass
Calling hours will be 2-4 pm on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Twomey, Leblanc, and Conte Funeral Home at 193 High St, Newburyport, MA. (Parking in rear) A celebration of Bob will be held at the Park Lunch on Sunday, March 3, 2019 from 10AM - Noon. Burial will be private for his family in North Adams, MA.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Sarah’s Place, 180 Water St, Haverhill, MA 01830 who entertained and enjoyed Bob during the last months of his life and also the loving, compassionate staff of High Pointe House, 360 North Ave, Haverhill, MA 01830. Please consider a donation in lieu of flowers.