American Patriotic 10

Robert S. Huber

April 27, 1946 ~ January 25, 2022 (age 75)


With his wife holding his arm, as she did for 54 years, our father slipped away after midnight on Tuesday, January 25.

Robert Scott Huber, born April 27, 1946, was Scott to family and friends. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he worked at Waterbury Hospital for more than 40 years. Dad grew up in Bethlehem, Conn. in a little beach community called Kasson Grove. His father, Robert Vincent Huber, after whom he was named, was a carpenter and built their house and others in Bethlehem, which he took us on driving tours to see when we were young. His mother, Trudy (McGrady) Huber worked at Southbury Training School and gave him his love of reading and the belief that learning should be a lifelong continuous pursuit. Dad was proud of his mother’s efforts to raise funding to build and support a town library; inspired by her thoughtfulness, generosity, perseverance, and dedication to community, he instilled those values in all of us.

Dad is survived by his wife Dorothy (McFarlin) Huber, son Scott E. Huber and grandson Gabriel Huber, daughter Jennifer Huber and grandson Griffin Scott Huber, daughter Erin Findley, mother-in-law Pat McFarlin, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Robert and Gertrude Huber, sister and brother-in-law Christine and George Pierce, brother William Huber, and son-in-law Rick Findley.

When we were kids, we would eagerly listen to any story about his childhood partly because he was such a natural storyteller. There were the funny ones (this probably isn’t the time to tell the BB gun story, but it’s ours to pass down), the sublime (helping Marilyn Monroe with a flat tire when she was married to Arthur Miller, who lived nearby), and the dramatic (he nearly died when he fell out of the bed of a truck doing farm work).

Dad knew things. He could fix things and build things. Whatever the topic, he would know something about it. He read the newspaper every day, just like his parents had. For years, he always had a book tucked in the bag he brought to work along with whatever healthy food my mother reminded him to pack. He knew how to drive pretty much anywhere. He knew people. Wherever he was, he’d meet someone he knew. Sitting by the side of the road watching a parade 30 miles from home, no one was surprised to hear a fire fighter yell out from a passing fire truck, “Hey, Scott! How are you?”

Wit, charm, and an affable personality made him an easy friend and beloved parent and grandfather. He was deeply sarcastic and equally compassionate. If you couldn’t take a joke, couldn’t take being teased, the joy of knowing the best (he was, indeed, the best) was perhaps wasted on you, but he would have had nothing but nice things to say about you nonetheless.

Most of all he loved his wife. They met when he was stationed in Illinois, and settled in Woodbury, Conn., one town over from where he grew up. He brought her flowers regularly from the start, often weekly. He was partial to daises, but he brought her tulips on her birthdays and roses on their anniversaries.

The water was where he belonged. Dad would bake in the sand and salt until red and enjoy every second of it. He spent a lifetime planning and planting gardens, bird feeders, and bird houses with our mother. He cursed all the creatures she adored watching out the window that swiped his grass seeds.

Dad was a patriot. Talking politics was his favorite roller coaster—though he liked actual roller coasters too. The last one he rode, he introduced them to his grandson and didn't begrudge him a second, third and fourth go-around. But politics was politics and family was family. He grew up with the two mixed together in a happily combustible combination. You should be able to say anything and argue your points, and then pass the salad and enjoy the rest of dinner together. He believed fiercely in the fight for and the exercising of the right to vote.

A Sox lover deep in his bones, dad summoned a family trip to place a pennant on his father’s grave in Bethlehem when the curse broke in 2014. He would have liked hearing that David Ortiz made it into the Hall of Fame this week. He followed baseball, football, hockey, soccer—all major sports, really. Dad thought happy diversions should be found where you can, and sports were that for him.

Weekends when we were kids were for coaching our sports teams and family activities. He toured the Smithsonian over and again while chaperoning the eighth-grade trips to Washington D.C. for each of us. That’s where my father taught us the difference between a statue and a memorial when he talked about boys he knew who made the ultimate sacrifice and touched the name of his childhood friend on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Dad moved mountains to be there for his children whenever we needed help, no matter the circumstances. Dad adored his grandsons and they’re going to be better men for having known him.

His name legacy meant more to others than to him. And we’re fine with that. He was too modest to think about it.

Our parents named their first-born Michael. After leaving the hospital and returning, dad asked to see his son, to which a puzzled nurse said we don’t have a baby Michael. Turns out, our mother changed his name to Scott while he was gone. Dad shrugged his shoulders when he told that story. We have no doubt that on that day, he cocked his head and raised an eyebrow at the nurse and then turned to my mother, laughed, and said, “Okay, Dottie.”

There’s much more to say about dad—who he was, what he meant to each of us, what he accomplished, the effect he had on all our lives. There are a hundred stories to tell, it's impossible to share them all while we're contemplating living in a world without him.

We’re going to hold off on a service for now and plan to celebrate his life later in the spring.

Dad survived lung cancer. His team at Yale called his response to treatment a miracle. He was recovering well from a stroke in October. We’re still piecing together what caused the illness that took him from us unexpectedly.

We would be honored to see good work done in his name. Memorial donations may be made in his name to the Closer to Free fund at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center.

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