YORK BEACH, MAINE: Robert J. Poulin died on September 12, 2020, in view of the Atlantic Ocean at his home on Long Sands Beach in York, Maine.
The son of Arthur A. Poulin and Blanche Marquis Poulin, Bob grew up in Springvale, Maine and graduated from Sanford High School in 1948.
Shortly after his graduation from high school, Bob hitched a ride in the back of a local chicken farmer’s truck to New York City. He never looked back.
Bob found work at Whitecastle in the Bronx and was able to pay his way through Fordham University. Eventually he would earn his master’s in industrial engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology.
He landed at Allied Chemical in Times Square where he worked his way from an engineering position to an executive. From there he became president of Glamorene products, where he managed iconic brands like Spray N Vac carpet cleaner. Not content to complacently sit in the executive suite, Bob sought out other challenges as an executive vice president with Canada Dry and then as a senior executive at Morse Electrophonics, always contributing to their success.
On September 11, 1954, Bob married Margaret (Peggy) Murphy of Dover, New Hampshire in the middle of Hurricane Edna. They settled in Park Ridge, New Jersey where they raised their four children on heavy doses of love and laughter. Like the eye of the storm at their wedding, their home was always the center of activity where friends and neighbors were welcomed as part of the family. They enjoyed trips to the City, summer vacations at Milton Pond in New Hampshire and Christmas vacations in Dover and Sanford to visit Peg’s and Bob’s mother. During those winter trips they became an avid skiing family, a pass time that would draw them together throughout their lives.
Eventually Peg and Bob’s passion for skiing would lead them to Vail, Colorado where Bob had the foresight to purchase housing units at an underutilized mountain outpost that has since turned into the bustling Lions Head Village. Vail would become a place of winter respite for Bob and Peg, and the backdrop of many cherished family memories including the wedding of Bob’s grandson, Shawn.
In 1980, Bob and Peg up-routed from New Jersey and moved to York Beach, Maine where they had bought the Sunrise Hotel two years prior. Anyone who assumed Bob was opting for a more relaxed lifestyle clearly did not know Bob. In a few short years they had purchased the Sea Latch Inn in York Beach which was quickly followed by the Village Cove Inn in Kennebunkport, a seafood restaurant in Wells Beach and another motel on Long Sands.
Peg ran reservations while Bob operated the properties. The summer rental season was a relentless tidal wave of stress and aggravation that Bob seemed to relish. Eventually the frenetic vacation rental season pace would give way to fall family gatherings, trips to shows in NYC and then the welcoming embrace of Vail and winter skiing. But Bob never really stopped working, always planning and strategizing about his next project or improvement. It was simply not in his makeup to stand still.
And through it all, Bob’s priority was family. Bob and Peg loved having their children with them and found ways to be together even as they moved to different parts of the country. But it was not just their immediate family that they included in their circle. Bob and Peg’s family extended beyond their own children and siblings to the many friends who they treated like family. When you were with the Poulins, you were home.
Bob Poulin was a man of incredible energy and determination. He was creative and smart, yet self- effacing and grateful. He did not deal in nonsense. He was candid in his assessments and truthful in his words, yet he was empathetic, encouraging and kind. He was a selfless and devoted mentor to many who worked with him. When Bob gave advice you knew he was acting in your best interest. He enjoyed the back and forth of lively conversation and admired the energy of highly motivated people. He sought to help people realize the potential he saw in them that they did not see in themselves. His many acts of kindness were delivered quietly and without fanfare. He was the most genuine friend you could hope to have.
Sadly, Bob lost his beloved daughter, Suzanne, and the love of his life, Peg, in the same year in 2011. He is also predeceased by his sister Muriel and his brothers Arthur and Richard. He leaves his loving children, Judy Poulin of Portsmouth NH, Robert Poulin (and Maggie) of San Felipe Mexico, and James Poulin (and Anna) of Punta Gorda Florida, and his pal and grandson Shawn Poulin (and wife Kelsey and soon-to-be-arriving great granddaughter, Mackenzie Suzanne Poulin) of Denver Colorado; his brother Paul Poulin of Springvale Maine, and nephews Richard Poulin (and Doug Morris) and nieces Kit Lane and Stacie Dougherty; his nephews Mike (and Sue) Murphy, Tom (and Angie) Murphy and Ray Murphy (and Beth Lindstrom), and his great nephews and nieces Brendan, Charlotte, Emma, Cameron, Jake and Cooper.
Bob Poulin did not take a moment of his life for granted. He filled his life with hard work, constant challenges, projects, activities, skiing, travelling, dinners, shows, gatherings and all kinds of other things. But most importantly he filled it with people. People whom he touched in many different ways and people who loved him for it.
Bob Poulin’s life was rich and full because he made it so, and we were all the better for it. We will miss him.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in memory of Robert J. Poulin to support cancer research and patient care at Dana Farber Cancer institute, P.O Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via www.jimmyfund.org/gift.
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