Robert M. Eaton, 66, of Needham, MA, passed away suddenly at his home on December 5, 2020.
Bob was the son of the late Robert P. and Merilyn D. Eaton. He is survived by his siblings: Geri Colburn; Gail Cote and her husband Charlie; Lynn Eaton; and Jane Wolfe and her husband Mark. Bobby held a special place in his heart for his nieces, nephews, and great-nephew: Jamie Feinberg (Ross), Abby Eaton Feinberg, Scott Feinberg (Kailey), Robbie Feinberg (Ria), Jonathan Cote (Sally), Michelle Wetlaufer (Roscoe), Richard Wolfe, Donovan Wolfe, and Charlie Cote.
Bob was born and grew up in Needham and graduated from Needham Sr. High School. He had an amazing memory and could tell you the names of his teachers from each grade. Bob loved the town of Needham and could often be found walking in the Town Forest or along Highland or Great Plain Avenues, enjoying being out and about. He especially enjoyed attending the Thanksgiving Needham-Wellesley football games. His fun was walking the sidelines and connecting with people from around town. Bob was an old-fashioned “people-person” with a heart of gold who always found time for others.
Bob attended Northeastern in Boston, MA and graduated from Salem College in Salem, WV (now Salem-Teikyo University). He also graduated from the NE Institute of Embalming in Boston, MA and worked for a while for the family business at the Eaton Funeral Home in Needham. His career though, was working with the public providing travel assistance. He worked for many years at AAA as a Travel Consultant in Massachusetts where he enjoyed meeting people and helping them with their travel and vacation plans. He became an expert on the highways throughout the United States and could always provide excellent guidance on the best ways to get from here to there.
For several years, Bob lived in NH and worked at Hertz Rent-A-Car at the Manchester Airport. It was always fun to fly into Manchester and be met by Bob! He had a way with people and found great pleasure in learning their stories and providing the travel help they needed.
For the past several years, Bob spent many fun days at the Senior Center at the Center for the Heights in Needham. He reconnected with old friends and made many new friends. The activities, volunteers, and community members enriched his days, and the professional personnel gave needed guidance with everyday worries. And the gathering for a hot lunch every day was wonderful!
Service to others was a large part of Bob’s life including his involvement in the Masonic organization. While in high school he joined DeMolay in Needham and rose through the ranks to Master Councilor. He earned his Chevalier degree and the DeMolay Legion of Honor. After he joined the Masons, Bob served as the Needham DeMolay Chapter Advisor for 7 years. He was an integral part of the start of the annual Christmas Tree Sale fundraiser for Norfolk Lodge.
Bob was a Mason in Massachusetts for over 45 years. During that time he held many posts and helped with innumerable Christmas tree sales! He was a Past Master of Norfolk Lodge; Past Grand Steward to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts; Past Master of the Lodge of Instruction; Past Master of Nehoiden Lodge (now the Moses Michael Hays Lodge); Past High Priest of Mt. Vernon Lodge (now Newton Royal Arch Chapter); Jr. Grand Steward of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts; Past Illustrious Master of the Cryptic Council, Royal and Select Masters; Past Eminent Commander of the Gethsemane-DeMolay Commandery #7, Knights Templar; Twice Past Worthy Patron, Wisteria Chapter #138 of the Order of Eastern Star; and was a member of the Massachusetts Consistory. In addition, Bob served as Chaplain to Norfolk Lodge and many other chapters and was always available to help members with ritual. He cherished his Chaplain role and spent many hours visiting Masonic brethren as the need arose.
Bob was a member of Christ Church Episcopal in Needham, and while living in NH had been a member of St. Peters Episcopal Church in Londonderry. Music was always important to his life, and he loved listening and singing along with the glorious pipe organ at Christ Church. Loud, symphonic orchestrations were his favorites. Bob was a child of God and greatly benefited from the peace of church fellowship. He especially enjoyed services that included lots of older, classic hymns! Bob was an active member of his churches and served as an acolyte and Sunday School teacher in his youth, and then later helped with acolyte training and coordination, and served as Verger and part-time Sexton. His hope was to start providing communion in people’s homes on behalf of the church sometime in the new year.
When the Senior Center had to close this year due to the COVID outbreak, Bob missed his friends and the activities, but he found time to meet and enjoy his neighbors and to start gardening around his yard. He spent hours creating garden areas and filling them with flowers and vegetables. He was so excited to be able to share tomatoes with his family and friends!
Bob’s family extends thanks to the many, many people who have been part of his life over the years and have shown special kindnesses. It is hoped that a memorial service can be conducted in the summer so everyone can gather to celebrate Bob’s life and share memories.
Donations in Bob’s memory can be made to the Friends at the Center at the Heights, 300 Hillside Avenue, Needham, MA 02492 or to the Norfolk Lodge A.F. & A.M., Building Fund, 1101 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA 02492.
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