HAMPDEN – Robert Erlon Totman, 83, husband of Patricia Jones Totman, passed peacefully March 21, 2014, at a local hospital. He was born Aug. 5, 1930, in Gardiner, the son of Charles and Beatrice Leighton Totman.
Bob graduated in 1948 from Gardiner High School where he excelled in football, and nurtured his musical talents. While still a high school student, Bob was invited to join the Al Corey Big Band and was its youngest member. All through life, he was a huge fan of big band music but more than listening, he loved playing. He played his baritone sax with the Corey Band right up until the present day. He was proud of the band and happy to be associated with so many accomplished musicians over the years, and they in turn appreciated his musicianship, dedication, and warm personality, and many remain among his closest friends. For 15 years he played in the Fred Petra Band at the Mount Washington Hotel for big band weekends. Recently, he also enjoyed playing locally in the Queen City Big Band.
In 1952 Bob graduated from the University of Maine. As a student he studied business and was a member of Phi Eta Kappa fraternity. Following graduation, in August of 1952 he married Patricia Jones. For the next 62 years she continued to be the woman of his dreams in a marriage that truly can best be described as a love story that will never end.
A month after marrying Patricia, Bob began serving his country after getting drafted into the U.S. Army and being assigned to Japan as a radio repairman for gunnery target drones. During his off duty hours, Bob taught English to Japanese children. Three years later, Bob and Pat returned to Hampden, where they resided for the next 60 years. Bob began working for New England Telephone and later NYNEX in a career that spanned 30 years, and where he managed to very successfully climb the corporate ladder despite his insistence on keeping his family, home, and office in Maine. After early retirement from the telephone business, he operated Bob Totman Appraisals for 10 years, finally retiring for good in 1995.
In addition to his work and his music, Bob had other diverse talents and pursued many other interests. While working full time and playing in the Corey Band, he built his home in Hampden as well as the cottage at Branch Lake where the family has lived every summer. He enjoyed camp life in general, picking blueberries, boating with his family, and was an avid sailor. He enjoyed playing on and around the water with his grandchildren and then great-grandchildren and they all enjoyed him. He was a good skier and built a chalet in the Squaw Mountain area so his family could enjoy spending winter weekends and school vacations skiing. Later, he further refined his carpentry skills and made several pieces of furniture that are still treasured and used regularly by various family members in their homes. He taught music to several school aged kids including a grandson who followed in his footsteps, both as a football and saxophone player.
In addition to Bob’s many accomplishments and varied talents, perhaps his greatest contributions were to his family and close friends as he showed by example how to be a man of high standards but to remain humble. He was a devoted husband, and a father who encouraged his four children in their various pursuits, building love, admiration and respect for him, which continued to grow and deepen through their lives. He enjoyed being actively involved with his grandchildren who grew up with “Pa” as a much loved and appreciated fixture in their lives.
Bob was an active and faithful member of St Johns Episcopal Church for over 60 years. He served in many capacities including as usher, chairman of the finance committee, and on the vestry.
Bob is survived by: his wife Patricia of Hampden; his daughter Jo-Anna (Totman) Wilson and husband, Michael Wilson, their four children, John, Jennifer, Karla, and Hilarie (Wilson) Galloway and husband, Ethan Galloway; his daughter, Jo-Linda (Totman) Jenkins and husband, Tom Jenkins, their four children, Michael, Abigail, Joshua and wife, Dawn Jenkins, and Emily (Jenkins) Shaw and husband, Rick Shaw, their two children, Isaiah and Lydiah; his daughter, Elizabeth Totman; his son, Jeff Totman and wife, Laura Totman, three children, Stephanie, Sam, and Ryan Walker; his brother-in-law, Philip Jones and wife, Charlene; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by an infant daughter, Judy; his parents; brother, Carroll and wife Peggy.
A funeral service will be held 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 225 French St., Bangor, with the Rev. Canon Mary Ann Taylor officiating. Those who wish to remember Bob in a special way may contribute to CancerCare, care of EMHS Foundation, P.O. Box 931, Bangor, ME 04402-0931. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.