Robert L. Catell ’45

YARMOUTH – Robert L. Catell, 88, died Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, in Falmouth. Bob was born Feb. 9, 1924, in Bangor, to Charles V. and Frances Blake (Leonard) Catell.

Bob graduated from Bangor High School and attended the University of Maine, Orono. After the war broke out, Bob tried to enlist, but was initially declared 4F and moved to New York City, where his father lived, getting a job as an electrical contractor. After having a freak accident in which an electrical shock caused him to be thrown 25 feet across a room, Bob learned that that the arrhythmia that had initially kept him out of the military was cured. He returned to Maine, enrolled at Maine Maritime Academy, graduated and served the rest of the war in the Merchant Marine. Bob credited his experience at MMA with providing the foundation for his success in life. On June 18, 1945, Bob married his junior high school sweetheart, Cynthia Rich, and for 63 years this couple enjoyed a wonderful life filled with love, lasting friendships, job satisfaction and community involvement. Bob began his career at New England Telephone climbing poles and splicing cables. As a result of his self-disciple and dedication to exemplary work Bob was promoted every year and half ending up as a lobbyist for AT&T working primarily at the state house in Augusta. Bob’s ability to listen, his easy way of communicating and respectful manner allowed him to present information in a logical way, providing insights and leading to rational decisions. His leadership was clearly demonstrated, when in the 1950s, he promoted 15 women to management positions. Bob was president of Maine State Chamber of Commerce, a director of New England Council for Economic Development, a Mason, a Lion and a Rotarian. He also enjoyed regularly serving chowder at South Freeport Congregational Church. Bob was a man possessed with a natural curiosity of life and an openness and acceptance of all people. He was known to always do what was right. He was both a man’s man and a woman’s gentleman. He enjoyed playing golf, hunting, fishing, doing fine woodworking and boating. His daughter and grandchildren have very fond memories of weekend breakfasts, where an always-cheerful Bob would serve up eggs, bacon, sausage and just about any variety of pancakes. As Alzheimer’s disease began to take its toll on this remarkable man he was able to hang on to his great smile to the end – the kind of smile that spoke of loving acceptance and was a reflection of his soul. As conventional words began to escape him – he took on the words and gestures of the poets in describing life around him. He will be so greatly missed.

Bob is survived by his daughter, Anne Catell and husband, George Samuels, of Portsmouth, N.H.; four grandchildren, Benjamin Pecora, Ki Pecora, Robert Pecora and Adrienne Catell; and brother, Stanley Catell and wife, Elsie, and their children, Brian, Jimmy, Scott and Mark Catell. He was predeceased by his wife, Cynthia, Jan. 17, 2010.

There will be a time of gathering and celebration of Bob’s life with family and friends noon-3 p.m. Thursday, March 21, at Portland Country Club, 11 Foreside Road, Falmouth. For those who wish, donations may be made in Bob’s name to Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter, 383 U.S. Route One, Suite 2C, Scarborough, ME 04074. To view a video collage of Bob’s life and to share your condolences, memories and tributes with his family, please visit