Robert Joseph Canha died peacefully in Stuart, Fla., on Jan. 5. He was 84. His loving wife of 24 years, Mary Canha, was at his side at the time of his passing.

Robert, more commonly known as Bob, was born in Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard on July 29, 1930. He was the son of the late Dora Marian Authier Canha and the late Manuel Perry Canha, a commercial fisherman who died at the age of 26 when caught in a northeaster while fishing off of Noman’s Land in October 1932.

Bob grew up in Vineyard Haven and attended the Tisbury High School, graduating in the class of 1948. During high school, he worked at Yates Drug Store on Main street in Vineyard Haven. He was a talented athlete on the school basketball team and had plans to play on the men’s basketball team for the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. A serious leg injury in a car accident in West Chop in the summer of 1948 derailed those plans.

Bob began working at the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority in August of 1947 as an Able Seaman during his senior year in high school. He remained with the Steamship Authority for 45 years, until retiring at the age of 62 in November 1992. Over the years he became a pilot, then a captain, often choosing to work the Nantucket schedule. He was promoted to port captain in June of 1988 and was further promoted to operations manager for the Steamship Authority in March 1991, where he remained in that position until his retirement, working directly under the former general manager Barry Fuller in the Woods Hole office.

During the Steamship Authority 72-day ferry strike by employees in 1960, Bob became friends with the late Lawrence N. Spitz, a pioneer of the labor movement in New England, who worked closely with the employees during their strike. From 1965 to 1968 Bob became the president of the DOLU Deckhand Union and then the president of the National Maritime Union on behalf of the Steamship Authority employees. He took seven short-term leaves of absence from the Steamship Authority from 1965 to 1968 to work in cooperation with Mr. Spitz with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Affairs. His role was to take foreign labor union leaders on tours around the U.S. These trips remained as wonderful memories throughout his lifetime.

Bob married Jacqueline Frances Stanlake Canha of Boston in 1951 and they had two daughters, Robin Ann Canha of West Tisbury and East Falmouth, and Susan Gail Mendell of Maine. The family moved from Vineyard Haven in 1959 to Fairhaven when the Steamship Authority was operating out of New Bedford. The couple divorced in 1974 and Jacqueline later died in October 2012. Bob and Jacqueline were the grandparents to Robin’s daughter, Erin Elizabeth Sheehan of North Attleboro, and Susan’s children, Tracey Villanueva, Donald Mendell, Joseph Mendell and Elizabeth Hawthorne, all of Maine, and who provided him with eight great-grandchildren.

Bob married his second wife, Nancy Higgins Canha, in 1976 and they lived in Centerville. He became a stepfather to her daughters Elaine Cavatorta, Linda Wise and Laura Lincoln. Nancy died in 1987. Four years later, Bob married Mary Fitzpatrick Canha, who also worked at the Steamship Authority Woods Hole offices, in January 1991. He became a stepfather to Mary’s daughters Meg Wilson, Colleen Hammond, Amy Walsh, Missy Martin and Lisa Reposa and sons John (Rusty) Halloran and the late James Halloran. Bob and Mary lived in East Falmouth. After his 1992 retirement, they spent winters in Stuart, Fla., until finally retiring there year round three years ago. His stepchildren provided him with 23 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his older sister, Doris Nemeth, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and his half sister, Kathy Beauchemin Scruggs of Tampa, Fla. Doris spent several hours with her brother during the last two days of his life.

Bob was an avid golfer who also enjoyed watching football and golf on television. He loved going out to eat at restaurants on a regular basis. Bob was blessed with a long life filled with the love of a large extended family.

A public memorial service celebrating his life will be held in Falmouth later this spring and will be announced when the date is determined.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to Cystinosis Research Network, 302 Whytegate Court, Lake Forest, IL 60045.