Robert “Bob” Abbott
The world became a lesser place when Bob Abbott (86) passed on Thursday, December 16 at his home in Grangeville, Idaho. He was born September 4, 1935, in Voluntown, Connecticut to Arthur “Gordon” Abbott and Aubine Crandlemire, joining his two sisters Joanne and Pauline (Polly). Having spent his childhood in and around the Pachaug State Forest in Connecticut, he was committed to the continuation of traditional uses of public lands and resources his entire life.
After finishing high school in Jewett City, Connecticut, he earned a BS in Forestry at University of Maine in 1958. He completed a Master’s degree through the US Army Command and General Staff College.
He began a career as a Forester with the US Forest Service on the Mt. Baker National Forest in Washington. From there he transferred to the Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon, where he met his wife Lura. His next position was on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, followed by his 15-year tenure as District Ranger on the Salmon River-Slate District of the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho where he retired from the job, he loved in 1994.
Bob loved competitive shooting his entire life. Having entered his first rifle competition at age 11, he was a member of the University of Maine Rifle Team during his time as a student in Orono. After college, he continued as a member of the 6th US Army Pistol Team for many years and was particularly proud of having been selected as a member of the All-Army Pistol Team 18 times. He continued with trap shooting through this current year. The camaraderie and friendships developed throughout his shooting career were deeply treasured.
He was a humble man who shunned the spotlight, yet one who was always an inspiration. Whatever the mission, Bob approached it enthusiastically and with total dedication. He worked to understand his communities and was completely committed to becoming an active member. He never failed to follow through with what he set out to accomplish. He worked to organize a volunteer fire department in Oregon, and was on the front line of developing the air traffic safety record enjoyed by the Tongass National Forest. Following the fire at the sawmill in Riggins, Idaho, he became an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and supported the transition of Riggins into the outdoor recreational hub than it is today. He worked tirelessly to bring opposing interest groups together in maintaining traditional use of the Wild and Scenic part of the Salmon River. He continued this work beyond the end of his Forest Service career to protect that part of the Salmon River with scenic easements.
During the years following retirement, Bob spent summers in Maine. He worked to continue the family legacy through restoring the property and camp that was begun by his grandparents. His wish for the future was to see it continually enjoyed by the family he so loved. The legacy he left us transcends the physical location and is the strength of the family bonds developed through his dedication.
He is survived by his wife Lura at the family home in Grangeville, children Ann Abbott (Erik Arnson) of Genesee, ID; Andy Abbott of Grangevillle, Beth Heglin (John) of Deer Park, WA, grandchildren Thomas Heglin and Daniel Heglin, and his beloved cat Leo.
Cremation has taken place. A service and memorial will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home, Grangeville. Send condolences to the family at blackmerfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Grangeville Gun Club Youth Marksmanship Program, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, or the charity of your choice.