Robert Earle Cleaves III ’54 died on February 26, 2009, in Portland, Maine.
He was born on December 21, 1931, in Portland, and prepared for college at Deering High School and Hebron Academy. At Bowdoin, he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. As a boy, he spent summers grading and piling lumber for his father’s wholesale lumber company, R.E. Cleaves & Son Co. After graduating from college, he joined the business full time and became president upon the 1966 death of his father, Robert Earle Cleaves Jr. ’20. At various times in his career, he also owned the Stillwater Lumber Company in Maine and a lumber distribution yard in Watertown, NY. He was a director of the Northeast Lumber Manufacturers Association and the New England Lumbermen’s Association and a member of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and was especially proud of his 50 years of membership in the Shrine. He delighted in sponsoring children who needed orthopedic care at the Shriner’s Hospital. Music was a central part of his life. He could play anything on the piano, from Bach to Boogie Woogie. One of the highlights of his music career was performing at the Bohemian Grove in California. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Helen Koniares Cleaves; a daughter, Pamela Cleaves Devine; two sons, Robert E. Cleaves IV and Harry J. Cleaves; a sister, Dorothy Jordan; and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by a sister, Bernice Lovejoy.