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In Memoriam: Robert Gainer

We mourn the loss of Robert Gainer, a beloved member of The Beacon Institute family and staff.  He died unexpectedly at home on Sunday, February 17, 2008. 

Bob was a unique man. His kindness and quiet ways belied a deep intellect and diverse talents.  As our maritime specialist, he was responsible for the redesign and outfitting of our research vessel, design and deployment of our docks at Beacon Harbor, and troubleshooting the computers and internal network at our 199 Main Street office. On weekends he conducted education programs in boatbuilding and marlinspike seamanship for school children.  Bob was to be a key part of our deployment team for the Rivers and Estuaries Observatory Network. He was a navigation expert, accomplished sailor, boat designer and builder, computer whiz, and talented teacher whose special skills made him an instant hit with the young.  Bob never lorded his expertise over adults either. Instead he would eagerly use an opportune moment to add to the knowledge of another.  

In his early twenties Bob sailed solo across the Atlantic. After a period during which he has out of contact with the world ashore, he was presumed and reported dead.  After he turned up alive he was made a guest on the television quiz show “I’ve got a Secret.”  Bob was known the world over for his sailing and navigation expertise. Online forums contain beautifully written explanations in Bob’s patient prose where he answers the arcane queries of sailors and others hoping to glean some of his knowledge.  But those of us who worked side-by-side with Bob will miss the gentle soul who sought solutions rather than fret over problems, who enjoyed making easier the lives of those around him, and who believed in kindness always.  He will be sorely missed. 

--John Cronin