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PORTLAND -- Robert Ward Wilson, of Portland, died at his home on Feb. 14, 2013, after a long struggle with cancer, with his beloved wife, Christine Sullivan, by his side. He was 59 years old.
As a peripatetic preacher's son, Bob grew up in various towns in New England. During his hippie days, he lived in Blue Hill and was instrumental in building Noel Paul Stookey's hen house animation studio. He studied mime and theatre arts with Tony Montanaro and performed with several mime troupes. While living in Boston in the 1980s, he attended the Museum School of Fine Arts and received his BFA from Tufts University. He also became a fixture in the standup comedy scene there, learning his chops at Catch A Rising Star and Play It Again Sam with other then-unknowns, such as Louis C.K., David Cross, Eddie Brill, Wendy Lieberman and Lizz Winstead.
In 1992, he moved to Maine to care for his mother, herself terminally ill with cancer. Bob's passion for painting and his large, vibrant abstract paintings traveled with him. (A selection is presently on view at David's restaurant on Monument Square). While working in the city's food scene - David's, Walter's, and as sommelier at the Back Bay Grill - he cultivated his refined palate for both food and wine. He most recently worked as a caterer for Aramark at UNUM. He continued painting throughout his life.
Bob had a huge appetite for life. After his first voyage overseas (an 'edifying' trip to Archangel, Russia), he and Christine traveled frequently in Europe, where Bob proposed on the Eiffel Tower. They married in 2001. He was an accomplished cook with an encyclopedic knowledge of wines, who loved gathering people around a table. Bob often ate with his eyes shut in order to savor every nuance of every dish. He will be best remembered, however, for his quick and discerning mind. Forever the raconteur, his witticisms kept us on our toes to the end.
Bob was predeceased by both his parents, the Rev. Robert Ward Wilson and Dorothy Lamb Cousins. He is survived by his wife Christine; his sisters, Roxanne Wilson of Orono and Cindy Howdyshell of Lander, Wyo., a brother, Fred Wilson of Putnam, Conn.; his stepfamily, Elizabeth, David and Jane Wilson of Wells River, Vt.; his mother-in-law, Jean Sullivan; numerous aunts, uncles; cousins; nieces and nephews; and many dear friends - all of whom will miss him very much.
A celebration of Bob's life is planned for a future date. Keep apprised or leave remembrances on: www.facebook.com/RobertWardWilson.
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 24, 2013