Robert Thomas (“Bob”) Armistead
We mourn the loss of our friends, neighbors and relatives who have passed. Our memories of life at the Lake are entertwined with our memories of those who shared their lives with us here.
Robert Thomas Armistead, P.E., age 71, of Campbell Hall, New York died peacefully at his home in Campbell Hall on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. Robert is survived by the love of his life and wife of over fifty years, Susan, as well as his children; Robert, Kane, and Bryan. He is also survived by his daughters-in-law Kim Noreen and Kimberly, as well as his precious grandchildren Ethan, Robert Wylie, Allison, Logan, Keegan, Maeraid, and Kellen. Robert is also survived by his beloved brother and business partner, Kevin, sister-in-law, Susan, and their children John, Elizabeth, and Lillian. He leaves behind many cousins, friends, and family members that he loved dearly. He also leaves behind his brother, Stephen Armistead, of Harrington Park, New Jersey, and was predeceased by his brother, Matthew Armistead, (February 24, 2016) of Oradell, New Jersey.
Robert was born on March 7th, 1949 at the Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital in Jersey City, New Jersey to Bernice Ann Nolan Armistead and Robert Theodore Armistead. He grew up in Fairlawn, New Jersey where he enjoyed Boy Scouts, earning the prestigious rank of Life Scout. Robert attended St. Peter’s Preparatory High School, where he was an active participant on the varsity swim team, assisting them to become county champions. His involvement in scouting, as well as his attendance at St. Peter’s, brought him friendships that he cherished and maintained throughout his life. In his youth, Robert played guitar in a band he had formed with his friends called, The Dischords. Telling tales of these “glory days” was one of his favorite pastimes and was always done with a huge smile on his face.
Growing up, Robert’s family enjoyed many fond memories at their lakeside home in Yankee Lake, located in Wurtsboro, New York. In the summer of his fourteenth year, Robert met a beautiful young lady named Susan Panitz whom he lovingly called “Elm” and married on November 7, 1969. Yankee Lake was such a special place to Robert throughout his life; he loved spending time there with his family and friends. He taught his children and grandchildren to fish and boat there, instilling in them a love for the outdoors and appreciation of the lake. Robert was an avid sportsman who spent much time in the woods at the Oak Ridge Conservation Club. In his 71 years of life, Robert traveled the world, yet to him Yankee Lake will always be his “favorite place.”
Last year the descendants of the “Reilly Sisters” gathered at Yankee Lake for a family reunion. To be together with extended family at the lake this one last time meant everything to Robert. All the people who planned and attended this special reunion will be forever in our hearts. Despite his illness, Robert, along with Susan, Rob, Kane, Bryan, Kim, Kimberly and all the grandchildren were blessed to take a trip together to St. John in the US Virgin Islands last year to celebrate Bob and Susan’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. It was an incredibly special and meaningful trip for him to have his family together for a shared vacation at that time.
Robert attended Villanova University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. During this time, he was also a member of the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps which eventually led to his service as a Naval Engineering Officer in the United States Navy. He served aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Richard E. Byrd DDG-23, which was stationed with the United States Navy’s 6th Fleet. Robert made the prestigious rank of lieutenant during his time in the Navy.
Robert was an extraordinary businessman, largely due to his incredible work ethic along with his deep appreciation for all aspects of the mechanical contracting industry. Working alongside his brother Kevin, they built three successful businesses: Armistead Mechanical, Inc., AMI Services, Inc. and Acorn Plumbing and Heating, Inc. Robert was a Professional Engineer licensed in both New York and New Jersey, a third generation mechanical contractor, as well as a proud member of Plumbers Local Union No. 14 in New Jersey. Robert served over 20 years as a management trustee on a number of benefit funds for the United Association of Pipe Trades throughout the states of New Jersey and New York and maintained excellent relations with the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters at the national level. He also held several trade licenses in New York and New Jersey.
Robert was an active member of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America’s (MCAA) national board of directors since 2003, before becoming the national president of the MCAA in 2010. He remained active in the association on both the national and local levels, serving on the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters International Training Fund Board of Trustees and the UA/MCAA Strategic Planning Committee. Robert was also a board Chairman of the Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation (MCERF) and a national board member of the Architecture Construction, and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program of America, Inc., representing the MCAA.
Robert was a well-respected member of his community. He was a board member and Chairman of the Orange County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and a past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Construction Contractors Association of the Hudson Valley. He has been a very active supporter of the Hudson Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America and served on their board. In 2009, the Boy Scouts honored Bob with the Orange County Distinguished Citizen Award.
Armistead Mechanical and Robert were longtime supporters of the Orange County Land Trust, a local land preservation organization whose mission he passionately believed in. Until recently, Robert sat on the board of directors of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York.
Robert supported the mission of Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. He, Kevin Armistead, and Armistead Mechanical Inc. received the 2019 Caritas Award which is given to community members who exemplify the agency’s mission to provide help and create hope. Robert was a man of unwavering faith and an active member of St. Mary’s Church in Washingtonville, New York.
Despite all the accolades Robert received during the course of his lifetime, he remained humble and grounded, always appreciating and giving credit to those who helped him achieve his success. Robert recognized that every employee contributed to the success of the Armistead businesses as did his other partners in business.
The Armistead family would like to thank Robert’s caregivers who gave compassionate care and much needed support to the family, specifically Hospice of Orange & Sullivan’s tireless Lorna, Melanie, and Shenay as well as his selfless nurses Epi, Dorota, Maria, Taina, Tammy, and Ryan. The family would also like to extend a special thank you to Father Maurer, who was able to visit with Robert many times during the course of his illness.
Due to the current national health crisis and continuing restrictions, funeral services and interment will take place privately, and a memorial event celebrating Robert’s life will be planned for a later date.
Robert had an amazing way of creating genuine and meaningful connections with those he came in contact with. He touched and connected with many people while on this earth, and we encourage friends to share stories, photos, and memories of him with the family by sending letters to: The Armisteads at 6 Hilltop Drive in Goshen, NY 10924.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the following organizations:
“At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built; not what we got, but what we shared; not our competence, but our character; and not our success, but our significance. Live a life that matters. Live a life of love.”
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