Robert W. Gilman, Jr. ’87

HOUSTON, Texas – On March 18, 2016, Robert W. Gilman Jr. was called to be with God in Heaven after complications from a health-related illness.

Robb was a devoted husband, loving father, beloved son, brother, uncle, and friend to all who knew him, and the rock of his family. He was an amazing man who his family had hoped to spend many more decades loving here on earth but is now in Heaven. He possessed a deep and devoted Catholic faith.

Robb was born in Portland on Jan. 26, 1965, and was raised in Westbrook, graduating in 1983 from Westbrook High School; and he just may have been involved in the hanging of the Class of 1983 banner from the SD Warren smokestack. He was an active athlete growing up playing football and baseball. He had a love of music and played the saxophone for many years as a young man. Robb left Westbrook in 1983 to attend Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in 1987. Robert spent the next five years as a merchant marine traveling the world; and at the time of his passing he had visited over 100 countries in his personal and professional life.

In August of 2008, Robb married Rachel Alise Hoepner at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in Portland. The couple resided together in London, England. On Dec. 19, 2009, Robb and Rachel welcomed the pride of their life into the world — their son Fenton Hoepner Gilman. Soon after Fenton’s birth, the Gilman family moved to Houston, Texas, and made their home in the town of West University Place. Robb lived there until his passing.

While Robb had lived on several different continents, his heart was always in Maine. In 1996 Robb visited his grandmother’s home town of Benedicta in Aroostook County and fell in love with the town and its people. He purchased 100 acres of land that year and built his cabin that had a million dollar view of Mt. Katahdin from his front porch. He continued to acquire land, and at the time of his passing his cabin sat on more than 350 acres. Robb became an avid outdoorsman, hunting and fishing in the shadows of Katahdin. Robb lived all over the world but returned to Benedicta any chance he could. After the birth of his son Fenton in 2009, it had even more meaning to him. He, Rachel and Fenton celebrated every 4th of July together in Benedicta and celebrated Christmas as a family there several years. Robb instilled a love of the outdoors in his son in the short six years they spent “in the woods” together.

Prior to his life as a husband and father, Robb’s career took him all over the globe. In March of 1992 Robb joined the American Bureau of Shipping as an engineer in London, which turned into a successful 24-year career with the company. He gained his field experience through survey assignments in Europe and as a senior surveyor in Ulsan, Korea. Beginning in 1998, he held a series of increasingly senior managerial positions within ABS and its affiliated companies. These included executive assistant to the president of the ABS Pacific Division in Singapore, director of business planning and analysis with ABS Group, president of ABS Quality Evaluations, senior vice president of ABS Consulting, regional vice president for ABS North America, regional vice president for ABS Europe and senior vice president for ABS Europe, vice president of global operations, president and COO for the Americas Division of ABS, and senior vice president of technical inspections and verification services for ABS Group of Companies.

In addition to a bachelor of science in marine engineering from Maine Maritime Academy, Robb also held a master’s in business administration from Rutgers University, and completed the advanced management program at Harvard Business School. He was also a USCG Licensed First Assistant Engineer and was a member of several maritime organizations.

Robb is survived by his wife Rachel Hoepner Gilman and son Fenton Hoepner Gilman of Houston, Texas; mother and father, Robert and Carolyn Horr Gilman of Gorham; sister, Jenifer Parent and her husband Larry of Westbrook; and brothers, Timothy Gilman and his wife Debbie of South Portland, Matthew Gilman of Winslow, and Benjamin Gilman and his wife Jessica of Gorham. Uncle Robb leaves behind many nieces and nephews, Mary Beth Parent, Joel Parent, Brittany Gilman Butler, Corey Gilman, Adam Gilman, Jayden Gilman, Annabelle Gilman, Lilly Gilman, John Gilman; and a great-nephew Bastion Butler. He was predeceased by his grandparents, William and Helen Gilman, and James and Mary Horr; and a nephew, Grant Gilman.

There will be visiting hours at Blais and Hay Funeral Home in Westbrook on Tuesday, April 5, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., followed by a full Catholic funeral Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 6. Additionally, a Memorial will be held in Houston, Texas, in the late spring. There will be a spring burial in Benedicta, where Robb will lay to rest with a view of his beloved land and majestic Mt. Katahdin.

In lieu of flowers, donations for Robb and Rachel’s son Fenton’s education fund can be sent to:
Robert W Gilman Jr.
Family Education Fund
c/o Jenifer Parent
25 Roosevelt Street
Westbrook, ME 04092 – See more at: