Robert A. Newman never wasted a day of his 99 1/2 years. An engineer, executive, cowboy, tennis player, bridge wizard, outdoorsman, home handyman, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he approached every day as an opportunity to improve something. 

Born on Nov. 3, 1915 and raised in Lawrence, Kan., the only child of William and Kate Newman, Bob was an outdoorsman and even a cattle ranch hand during one summer in Colorado. Bob’s lifelong habit of frugality acquired during the Great Depression was matched by his enormous generosity. He attended the University of Kansas and graduated from the University of Maryland before joining the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. in Washington, D.C. as a manager. He had a successful 35-year career with the Long Lines division of AT&T in New York, smoothing the flow of long distance traffic and directing the company’s operations to establish a worldwide telephone network.

During his long life, Bob lived in many places. As an officer in the Army Signal Corps during World War II, he was stationed in Oran, Algeria, where he met and married his beautiful, artistic and intelligent wife, Andree Cohen.  Their first child, Carole, was born in Casablanca, Morocco. Upon returning to the U.S. they had a second child, Faye. Their son Jim was born 11 years later in Manhasset, N.Y., where Bob and Andree lived for 25 years before moving to a farmhouse in western New Jersey for another decade, followed by four years on Martha’s Vineyard. For over 20 years they lived at Southgate, a retirement community in Shrewsbury, Mass.  A few years after Andree’s death in 2006, Bob decided to move to the West Coast where he could play tennis year round. He was living with Faye on the campus of the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) when he passed away from heart failure on May 15 with his three children by his side.

Bob was an inspiration and a help to all his children and grandchildren. He and Andree nurtured Carole’s love of medicine, and she became a pediatrician and health policy expert. Faye was encouraged to develop her intellectual curiosity and is now a professor and university administrator at UCSC. Jim, who worked for more than a decade as a lawyer for the telephone company, is now the general counsel for a small company in California.

Bob instantly connected with almost everyone he met.  He liked adventure, and he and Andree traveled extensively, developing a large domestic and international network of friends. A voracious reader, he had an inquisitive and alert mind up to the day he died. Bob’s other passions included card games (especially bridge and “Oh Hell”), many projects including building a family home on Martha’s Vineyard, and playing tennis. His tennis hobby really took off when he began playing in national tournaments at the age of 90! He achieved a USTA ranking of No. 8 in the country for his age group. In addition, after Andree developed macular degeneration, Bob volunteered for many years in local libraries for the blind.

Bob will be greatly missed by his adoring family that includes his children, Carole Allen of Arlington, Mass. and West Tisbury, Faye Crosby of Santa Cruz, Cal. and Jim Newman of Glendale, Cal, as well as their spouses, Carole’s husband Tom, Jim’s partner Michael Williams, and Jim’s former partner Richard Barrett. Bob held a very special place in the hearts of all his grandchildren and their spouses, Matthew and Yuki Crosby, David Allen and Michael McGrann, Tim Crosby and Molly Swanson, Abigail and Anna Richey-Allen, his step-granddaughters Ella and Olive Collins, and his great-grandchildren, Max Crosby, Theo Allen McGrann, Tabitha Richey-Allen and Mira Crosby. In addition, Bob was loved by members of his international chosen family spanning the globe from Japan to France to South America.

Celebrations of Bob’s amazing life are being planned for the fall of 2015. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to charities close to Bob’s heart. pecifically, friends may consider contributions in his memory to: The Bob Newman Memorial Camp Scholarship Fund at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Mass Audubon,, Mass Audubon, 208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773; National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped; or the UCSC Foundation, tennis program (edit selection, enter “tennis”).