Groton - Robert E. Starzec, 72, passed away peacefully at his longtime Groton Long Point home on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, after a six-month battle with gastric cancer. His devoted wife of 47 years, Sally, was at his side throughout the illness and in his final days and moments.
He was born on May 17, 1941, in Elizabeth, N.J., the only child of Edmund and Helen Starzec. The family then moved to Albany, N.Y. where Bob grew up hunting and fishing in the nearby Adirondacks and skiing Vermont's then-rudimentary ski slopes. The family spent summers at Point Pleasant, N.J. where he was first introduced to his lifelong love of fishing and the beach. Bob attended high school at the Christian Brothers Academy in Albany where he excelled academically, graduating first in his class and earning varsity letters in football and track. He was a natural leader and garnered much respect as cadet colonel in his senior year.
Bob graduated with a bachelor's of science degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963. He returned to MIT for his master's in computer science in 1966. Bob loved his time at MIT and was also an active participant in the school's tradition of pranks, notably as part of a group that grew a four-story icicle on the side of Baker House one winter and as a conspirator in the covert installation of a giant pumpkin face on the Great Dome.
From MIT, Bob took employment designing submarine components at Electric Boat. It was during this time that he met and courted Sally Bremner, then starting her career as an elementary school teacher
in Groton. The two married in Noank in 1967 and soon started their family.
In 1968, Bob began working at Pfizer, taking an initial position working with mainframe computers and retiring thirty-three years later as the financial controller of central research.
Over these years Bob was a supportive husband and involved parent, spending countless nights at the kitchen table reviewing math homework, strategizing sailing races, attending athletic events, and encouraging his children to be their best selves. Bob lent his time and expertise to numerous groups including the Groton Long Point Association Board of Directors, the Groton Long Point Volunteer Fire Department, the Board of Directors of the Mystic Aquarium, and most recently, the Groton Long Point Zoning Board of Appeals.
Bob was an avid fisherman with a remarkable track record given his aversion to waking up early. A student of the tidal nuances of Fishers Island Sound, he especially enjoyed fishing in the vicinity of North and South Dumpling. It would be remiss to discuss his fishing career without mentioning the 50-plus pound striped bass caught-and released-off of Bluff Point on light tackle in broad daylight. Wherever he traveled, he brought a rod and reel. He has been chased by a bull through a pasture in northern Scotland and cast line next to buffalo in the streams of Yellowstone Park. Bob enjoyed learning throughout his life. He enjoyed world history, naval stories, natural science, a good mystery and a new cookbook. He became an accomplished cook over the years.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son, Edmund, daughter-in-law, Amy, and granddaughter, Helena of Belmont, Mass., and his daughter, Anne Henson, son-in-law, Jon Henson, and grandson, Magnus of Mystic; as well as his two nieces, Beth Bremner and Ellen Hillsgrove and their families.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Noank Baptist Church, followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Christian Brothers Academy, 12 Airline Drive, Albany, NY 12205.
Please visit www.mysticfuneralhome.com
to leave an online message of condolence for the family.