Robert M. Sargent ’58

Robert M. Sargent ’58 died on April 4, 2024, in Sargentville, Maine.

(The following was a Family-provided account in April 4, 2024:)

Robert M. Sargent ’58

Robert Malcolm Sargent (Bob), 87, died unexpectedly on April 4, 2024. He was born in Tsinan, China, on September 9, 1936, to Elizabeth Sweet Sargent and Clyde Bailey Sargent, who were working at Cheeloo University. Young Bob also lived in Chengdu, China, Granville, Ohio, Philadelphia, and Georgetown. He attended Cranbrook School and Western High School. Bob was shaped by his family’s strong tradition of public service, especially that of his paternal grandfather, R. Harvey Sargent, whom he esteemed as both mentor and friend and whose career of discovery he honored in his 2015 book, Mapping the Frontier: A Memoir of Discovery from Coastal Maine to the Alaskan Rim.

At Bowdoin, where he received a BA in history, Bob played football and was on the college’s first-ever lacrosse team. His love of sports and athleticism was lifelong, as was his reverence for “The Offer of the College.”.After finishing Bowdoin, Bob enlisted in the Air Force and attended OCS at Lackland. In 1959, the new second lieutenant married Jane Maurey in Pennsylvania and they set off to Stead AFB in Reno on their honeymoon. Bob joined the foreign service and his career spanned more than twenty-five years, bringing his family to the Netherlands, Belgium, Vietnam (solo), Bulgaria, Türkiye, and Tunisia. Jane and Bob retired to his ancestral home in Sargentville, Maine, where he played an active role in public service locally, regionally, and around Maine as a consultant and volunteer. Among his numerous accomplishments, he created a traveling exhibit of his grandfather’s work entitled, “China, Exploring the Interior 1903-1904.” He also assisted local artist Rob Shetterly in launching his “Americans Who Tell the Truth” project.

Bob led an active life, hosting and entertaining family and friends near and far, traveling, playing tennis, sailing on the Merrie Jane, skiing, and biking. His career and active role on the board of the Camden Conference inspired him to spend lots of time reading and discussing world affairs. His engaging personality and dedication to family and relationships afforded deep enduring friendships across all walks of life and regions of the world. His pride for his children and grands spilled out in virtually every conversation.

After suffering a stroke, Bob was inspired by staff and volunteers at Maine Adaptive Sports, providing Bob with tremendous joy, and an outlet for his boundless energy. In the latter years, Jane’s unflagging round-the-clock care for him, Bob’s unwavering appreciation, and his ever-hopeful and positive attitude of persistence were a testament to their extraordinary life together.

For eighteen years post-stroke, many great health care workers facilitated Bob’s adaptation to his physical losses, including ten  years skiing with Maine Adaptive Sport & Recreation at Sunday River. Most recently Bob looked forward to sessions with primary caregiver Joyce, and physical therapists Joanna and Sue.

Bob is remembered for his uncanny memory of faces and names, impeccable spelling, proclivity to correct “unsuitable” grammar, distinctive warm hearty laugh, and generous enthusiasm. At home in all lands, he was always up for any adventure!

In addition to Jane, his wife of sixty-five years, Bob is survived by his son, Rob Sargent, and wife, Beth Cooney, his daughter, Ann Sargent ’84, and four grandchildren, Michaela Sargent, Beckett Sargent Slayton ’21, Rory Sargent, and Hattie Sargent Slayton ’23; Sargent nieces Cindy and Sharon; Maurey nieces and nephews Tom, Susan, John, Bruce, Meredith, and Ben; and many beloved relatives and friends. He was predeceased by his brother, Richard H. Sargent ’56.

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