Robert Lewis Piper
November 11, 1932 – May 20, 2020
Dr. Robert Lewis Piper (Bob), 87, of New Bedford, MA passed away on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at Hathaway Manor, from complications of Covid19. Given a struggle with dementia, Bob had been living at Autumn Glen Assisted Living until recently when increased care needs prompted a move to the nursing facility. He was previously married to Lenore Levin Piper Bunting of Providence RI. Together, they raised three children (Lisa, Marc and Molly) living for many years in South Dartmouth, MA. In the late 1980’s Dr. Piper moved to New Bedford, MA making his home downtown, near the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where he enjoyed a rich and full life.
Born in Meriden, CT, son of the late Lewis A. and Ann Z. Piper, Bob was raised in Midway, Kentucky. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Transylvania University, Lexington, KY then served in the military, in Alaska, as a field photographer. Bob then studied at Syracuse University, earning both Masters and Doctorate degrees in Political Science. He was always politically active. After retiring, he kept up his work by tutoring people along their path to citizenship.
Dr. Piper had a successful career in higher education. During his academic career he was a faculty member at Albion College, MI, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Antioch University, and Dean of Continuing Studies at S.M.U., now UMass Dartmouth, where he also was a tenured professor in Political Science. One of his favorite classes, popular with students, was titled, ‘The American Presidency’. He helped to create and implement many special programs, such as ‘ The Second Half: Lifelong Learning Institute’ and ‘Spotlight’ for gifted and talented high school students.
Dr. Piper was active in his community serving on the board of many local organizations including The First Unitarian Church, and the Rotch-Jones-Duff House. He enjoyed gardening, ornithology, and baking and participated in a long-standing game of bridge which he hosted in his home for over twenty years. Bob loved the company of his friends, and family especially cherishing his _me with grandchildren.
He is survived by his longtime and precious companion, Sandra Bilodeau with whom he shared many interests, travel, good food and conversation. He is also survived by his children; Lisa Piper Gilbert and husband Michael H. Gilbert of White Plains, NY, Marc Lewis Piper of Dartmouth, MA and Molly H. Piper of Brighton, MA ; a brother, George C. Piper and wife Sally of Lexington, KY; six grandchildren, Jacob and Owen Piper, Meira, Eden, Josiah and Elijah Gilbert; great-grandson, Ian Piper (Jacob); and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers, William B. and David Z. Piper.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are in the care of Waring-Sullivan Home at Dartmouth, MA. Memorial donations to The First Unitarian Church of New Bedford, https://uunewbedford.org/ or to UMass Dartmouth, https://giving.umassd.edu/ would be appreciated. Thank you. (Notification to Lisa Piper Gilbert, 108 Longview Ave. White Plains, NY 10605.) For online tributes, please visit: www.waring-sullivan.com