Robert Joseph Masterson, 64
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GORHAM - Robert Joseph Masterson, 64, passed away at the Gosnell House with his family at his side on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 just a month after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Bob reacted to his diagnosis with characteristic courage and resolve, stating that his only concerns were his family and a dignified death.
Bob was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and began a career in health care at 17, as an orderly at Fairview Hospital. He told his family of a 14-year-old patient named Julie who died of brain cancer and whose life inspired his future career. From that early age, Bob had the ability to connect with patients and family, a gift that for more than four decades would help many through difficult times.
Bob attended Kent State University and served as an Army medic in Vietnam. Upon returning, he traveled extensively, hitchhiking across the country numerous times. Bob met his soon-to-be wife, Althea, in 1976 while both worked at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. They married in a church high on a hill in Sausalito, six months after their first date. After Bob's graduation from the University of San Francisco with a BS in Nursing, they moved to Maine, settling in Gorham, where they raised their two children, Daniel and Kathleen.
Bob was a critical care nurse at Mercy Hospital for 30 years. He was a dedicated advocate for his patients and their families and served them with his knowledge, technical skill, compassion and empathy. He was an invaluable educational resource to his coworkers and students, serving as preceptor to many, teaching continuing education courses at the hospital, and calmly and confidently guiding others through difficult clinical situations.
Bob's greatest happiness came from time with his children and seeing them flourish. He spoke frequently of how grateful he was for the privilege of being their father. He was delighted beyond words to watch Daniel travel the world and attend outstanding academic institutions in pursuit of learning, teaching, and public service. Bob's joy in the compassionate and caring woman Kathleen became and her decision to become an RN were immeasurable. Seeing the choices they made for their lives, both so aligned with Bob's love of learning and nursing, allowed him to see his life as entirely fulfilled. Daughter-in-law Amelia was a treasure to Bob, and he frequently stated how thrilled he
Robert Joseph Masterson
76 State Street, Gorham
was that Daniel and Amelia had found each other.
Bob was also passionate about his much-loved home and its continual improvement. He mastered stone work and carpentry as he transformed the family home over the years, taking on one challenging project after another.
Today his 110-ft.-long stone wall, complete with an arch, stands as a landmark for many.
Bob leaves a family grateful for his love and life lessons: Althea, his wife of 36 years; son Daniel and his wife Amelia of New Haven, daughter Kathleen of Portland; brother Tom Masterson and his wife Marilyn of San Francisco, Calif., sister Kathy Motz of Fort Myers, Fla., sister Joan Gill and her husband John of Rocky River, Ohio, sister-in-law Sharon Mulligan of Manchester, Conn., brother-in-law Kirk Foley and his wife Rosemarie of Haverhill, Mass.; and nieces and nephews Brian, Beth, Tom, Sarah, Megan, Franz, Mark, Tim, Jill, and Amy.
The family would like to thank the many friends who helped Bob over the past month and who continue to help his family now. Special thanks to his colleagues at Mercy Hospital, who sent hundreds of cards of encouragement after learning of his diagnosis, and whose involvement and compassion over the course of the tests that led to his diagnosis made him reflect numerous times how fortunate he was to be surrounded by friends.
A memorial service celebrating Bob's life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. at First Parish Church, 1 Church St. in Gorham, followed by refreshments in Fellowship Hall. Arrangements are by the Dolby and Dorr Funeral Chapel, 76 State Street, Gorham. Online condolences may be made to www.dolbyfuneralchapels.com.
In lieu of flowers, a scholarship for nursing students completing their student nursing requirements at Mercy Hospital has been established in his memory.
may be mailed to:
The Robert J. Masterson Nursing Scholarship Fund
care of the
Mercy Development Office
144 State Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram from Feb. 9 to Feb. 10, 2013