Bob Wolf Obituary, Reverend Bob Wolf Dies At 87
- john Gibson
Bob Wolf Obituary, Death – We were saddened by the loss of Rev. Bob Wolf last week. Bob and Mary joined our church after retiring and have been faithful members for many years. Rev. Robert “Bob” Eldridge Wolf, 87, of Peabody, Massachusetts, died April 23 at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, surrounded by his wife and children. On March 22, 1936, Stuart Eldridge Wolf and Alida Francis Rogers Wolf delivered him at MGH affiliate Baker Memorial Hospital.
Bob, a three-pound premature infant, spent his first five weeks in an incubator, a breakthrough life-saving device. Fortunately, he was little but tough. Bob grew up in Belmont, Massachusetts, not far from Boston. He took the train to the Irving Ranch Boy Scout Jamboree in California in 1953. Another Jamboree attendee, Jimmy Stewart’s son, put Bob in a Stewart-Hope film. Bob was a movie star!
Summers were spent at the family “Camp” on Lake Annabessacook in Winthrop, Maine, boating, fishing, and hunting frogs for dinner. Bob fired a shot.22 firearms, to be precise. Bob was unusually “handy” as a child, having worked at a local auto company. He frequently completed house modifications himself. His passion, though, was language. He became a preacher after attending Northeastern University and Meadville Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago.
Bob married Ellen East in 1961 and had five children while moving from Buffalo, New York, to Caribou, Maine, and then to Falmouth, Maine. Bob married Mary (Smith MacClaren) in 1976, following their divorce. A year later, they married and had a large blended family including Mary’s daughters Lynn and Patricia.
For many years, Bob utilized humor, intellect, passion, and human connection to serve Unitarian Universalist churches. He served homemade eggnog at church Christmas celebrations. He spoke about Mary Oliver, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson because “they were not tied to science or scripture – they were not confined to cathedrals, synagogues, or mosques.”
Bob assisted congregations dealing with severe difficulties. When the senior minister in Buffalo, New York, was diagnosed with cancer, he took on a larger responsibility. He married Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas there in secret. His first church pastorate was at Caribou, Maine. Bob moved after three years to lead the Allen Avenue church in Portland, Maine, in the merger of two failing congregations into one with a controversial new structure. During his 15-year tenure, the church’s membership and prominence grew. He later served congregations in Needham, MA, and Keene, NH. He and Mary moved to Auburn, Maine, and were devout churchgoers. They relocated to Peabody, Massachusetts.