Cover photo for Robert M. Hyde's Obituary
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1922 Robert 2021

Robert M. Hyde

December 15, 1922 — October 27, 2021

Robert "Bob" M. Hyde, 98, of West Boylston, passed away peacefully on October 27, 2021 following a brief period of declining health.

He will be forever missed by his loving wife of 39 years Carolyn G. Hyde. He also leaves behind his beloved daughter, Deborah M. Hyde of Hauula, HI; his stepdaughter, Anne Beckstrom of Northborough, MA and her partner, Steven Stone; his stepson, Eric Beckstrom of Berlin, MA and his wife, Carolyn; his stepson Jon Beckstrom of Travelers Rest, SC and his wife, Tracey and their children, Jessica and Matthew Beckstrom. Bob was predeceased by his first wife, Mary A. (Bulger) Hyde, their son William R. Hyde and his son-in-law Tom Graffy.

Bob was born on December 15, 1922 in Caldwell, NJ, son of the late Albert and Lillian (Mooers) Hyde. He was raised in Verona, NJ and spent cherished time with family and friends during his youth in Chazy, NY near Lake Champlain. He honorably served in the South Pacific during WWII as a cryptographer for the US Army Air Corps Fifth Air Force division. Bob received a BA from Rutgers University in 1947 and a MA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949. He attended the Teachers College at Columbia University in 1951.

Robert's long professional career began in the field of higher education. He had been an administrator at Rutgers University in New Jersey when he came to Worcester in 1954 as the first full time director of the Clark Evening College. He became the university's first vice president in 1957 and served as executive vice president from 1962 to 1972. He directed planning activities which resulted in a major building program and, through a national campaign, construction of the Robert Hutchings Goddard Library. He was elected an honorary Clark alumnus, and was cited by the University Board of Trustees for distinguished service. He was instrumental in the development of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, and served as its vice president for public affairs in the mid-seventies. Bob authored several articles on higher education in professional journals and the Worcester Evening Gazette.

Robert became vice president for Resources at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in 1977, and served that institution as an administrator and consultant until his "retirement" in 1988. For ten years after ending in 1998, he was a consultant to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.

Bob was involved in numerous other noteworthy professional ventures over the years. He worked as a consultant to the Rouse Corporation of Baltimore, MD and to the Academy for Educational Development. He was for a time the president of the Worcester Housing Development Corporation. Bob was a trustee of Memorial Hospital and Consumers Savings Bank, a director of the Massachusetts Easter Seal Society, and a member of the corporation of Curry College. In West Boylston he was a member of the Mixter School Building Committee, and served for fourteen years on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He was a trustee of the West Boylston Land Trust and the Oakdale Cemetery Association. Bob was a member of the Worcester Committee on Foreign Relations for many years and was also a longtime member of the Worcester Club.

Bob was an enthusiastic canoeist. He was very familiar with local area rivers and knew all of the best picnic spots. Pokomoonshine Lake (aka Pokey) in Maine was a favorite destination for his silver Old Town canoe. Taking photos was another passion of Bob's that started at an early age and continued throughout his entire life. He was our family's resident photographer. He truly had an amazing eye for composition and over the years some of his photos were published and exhibited. Bob also loved to travel. He and his wife Carolyn created wonderful memories with their many trips to far off destinations that we will be able to relive again and again through the treasured albums and carousels of slides that he left behind. Many of these great adventures included his daughter Debbie and her husband Tom. He derived such pleasure in the intricate planning and execution of these trips. We loved to hear his post travel stories.

Bob was a wonderful father to his son Billy and daughter Debbie. They went on two amazing summer cross country camping trips that are of course fully memorialized forever more in film. Bob often talked about his fond memories of those days.

Services will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, 370 Main Street, Suite 650, Worcester, MA 01608 or the West Boylston Historical Society, 65 Worcester Street, PO Box 201, West Boylston, MA 01583.
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