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Obituary
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Dr. Robert Hand
2020-05-25

            Bob, Dr. Hand to many, Dad to a few lived from 1949 until 5/ 22/2020. Born

in Scranton PA, with a then often fatal medical condition he had often been told he was not expected to survive.  Survive and thrive he did for the next 70 years.

            Bob grew up in East Greenville, PA playing ball and chess for hours with is best friend who he considered a brother Brian Bitting and a tight group of friends. As expected, he exceeded at school and sports and was so proud to be inducted into both the Athletic and Academic Hall of fame at his high school alma mater.

            He would often recount the lessons he learned from his years playing baseball and football and speak in sports analogies often to my utter confusion. His dad, Dr. Robert F. Hand Senior, was the town's dentist. His Mom, Edna Mary Griffith Hand was devoted to her only son. She imparted to him a love of reading. His impeccable manners and ability to sew a button where thanks to her. A consummate homemaker in the very best sense, no evening passed without a lovingly made deser;, his favorite was her marble cake. During his entire life Bob never, ever lost his taste for a desert thanks to his mom. He missed her dearly.

            As an only child he felt a deep connection to his cousins, children of the Griffith Girls, with whom he spent many summers. Patty Lou, Pete and Bill remained close in his heart despite the miles between them.

            He was graduated from Dartmouth College with a double major in Math and Chemistry and went to UC Berkley to pursue graduate studies in Chemistry. Although an academic life seemed well suited for Bob, he felt he wanted to lead a life with more meaning. He left Berkley and entered Yale Medical School. He did his residency in Maryland and fellowship at Mass General in Pulmonary and Critical Care.

            Bob practiced in Medford MA for many years with his partner Rob Weinstein and office Manager Mary Manascalco. He was chief of medicine at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford. He cared so deeply for his patients. His favorite part of his practice was the stories his patients brought to him. He loved hearing about the great big thing they did or about their fishing plans.  He loved talking to people. Bob served on the board of health in Medford for many years where he learned more about feral cats and the people that horde them then he ever imagined.

            Bob and I met on Super Bowl Sunday in 1992 on a blind date at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Not only not a sports fan, but not sports aware I bragged to my friends about this great guy who was at the Museum with me when most "guys" were watching the Super Bowl. It was only after two kids, a dog and a mortgage that I learned the truth one Super Bowl that the game is played at night and he had arranged the date to end in time to go and watch the game.

            He loved me with all my foibles, we were an unlikely pair, but a perfect fit. He was an only child but fully embraced his new in-law family and was happy to be part of the Lynch-Dunn clan.

            Emily, Fletcher and Caleb are the ones that call Bob Dad. Mia is his granddaughter.  He loved them without measure or condition, worried about them constantly and took great pride in all their accomplishments. It was his greatest joy being a father, he felt blessed. He worked very hard to support them and guide them. Bob became an honorary grandfather to Atiana, Maks and Leonidis. He saw in them a lot of potential and loved all the time we spent together.

            We arrived in Bangor in 2004. Bob's highest privilege was to work with his colleagues at Penobscot Respiratory. He was the chief of medicine at EMMC, a position he also held at the Lawrence in Medford, MA.  He mentored a number of younger physicians and shared his deep interest in both the clinical and scientific aspects of medicine with them.

            Bob felt a deep connection to the lives and well-being of his patients. He took the time to write to patient's families when they passed a note of comfort to offer solace in their grief.  He grieved with them. Medicine was not just a job to him, is was a calling.

            Bob was chief of the ICU at EMMC, he loved those nurses. He understood how challenging their job was and often directed me to send in food after a partially challenging shift.

            Bob had a great life in Maine. He was a devoted fan and supporter of the Bangor Symphony. He enjoyed his time in Grand Lake Streams and reconnecting with his joy of fly fishing. Most early mornings, whether frigid, snowing, raining or driving wind Bob could be seen running in the very wee hours of the morning. In fact I'm sure he showed up for a few early morning meetings still in his running gear.  He ran through his cancer treatments and through his recent health challenges with advanced kidney disease. Each morning Bob got up, laced up and ran. His actions say more about him than any words.

            We had a lot of dogs over the years. Each a rescue, all of whom came with some behavioral issue. He loved them anyway and they him. His dog Monty saw him through his chemo treatments and when he found he wanted to stay in bed rather than run, it was Monty's pawing and whining that got him moving. He loved that dog and wept bitterly when he died.

            Our last mile together was our hardest. He died surrounded by his family. By family I mean me, his boys, his medical family at EMMC all who held him in a tight loving embrace and who were so heartbroken to let him go. It was his wish and we bravely followed.

            In light of the current COVID issues we will not hold a formal funeral. Our family thanks you for your support and if you would care to remember Bob in a special way we would ask for a donation to the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestra. Supplying a nurse's station anywhere with pizza or treats is another way to honor Bob's legacy.


 

 

 

 

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