Robert Stacy Paine

September 20, 1927December 6, 2017
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South Wellfleet -- On December 6th before sunrise, Robert S. Paine died peacefully at his family homestead of four generations in Paine Hollow. “Bob" was born at the Hyannis Hospital on September 20, 1927. His father, Abbot O. Paine, Sr. was teaching in Cambridge at Rindge School of Technical Arts at the time. Bob’s mother Ethel (Stacy) wanted to make sure this child was born a true Cape Codder, carrying on the tradition through 13 generations from Thomas Paine, the windmill builder. She stayed in S. Wellfleet with her in-laws, and when she felt the first labor pains, she went out to the Model A, cranked it over to start it, and drove herself up to the Cape Cod Hospital, bringing forth a second son.

Bob was educated at Rindge Technical High School, but spent all school vacations with relatives in Paine Hollow. Older brother Abbott O. Paine, Jr. “Jay” went off to fight in World War II, and sent twenty dollars home for young Bob to buy his first derelict boat. With the help of his father who was a professional woodworker, and his grandfather, a schooner master, Bob rehabilitated the vessel and proudly sailed it to the Wellfleet town pier from the Blackfish Creek basin. There he became confused about the gearing and accidentally backed into the pier pilings. From then on, he was called Captain Reverse Gear by the seasoned fishermen. Summer fishing on his boat enabled Bob to save money for his college tuition. Bob graduated from Rindge in 1946 and worked a few years before attending the State Teacher’s College in Fitchburg, where he met his wife-to-be, Cynthia Ryan from Pepperell, who was studying nursing at the time. He earned his BA in 1953, and also gained a wife, as the couple eloped in the summer of 1953. Cynthia broke off an engagement with a banker who did not want to have children so she could marry this Cape Codder who wanted many children.

Bob’s parents gave him a choice of graduation presents. He could choose between a newfangled electric shaving razor or thirty acres of backwoods in Wellfleet that had been in the family and was known as “the woodlot.” He chose the acreage, and with Cynthia, started Paine’s Campground in South Wellfleet. His children (eventually seven) loved camping for the whole summer, swimming at Duck Pond and the ocean, and meeting campers from all over the country. Off-season, Bob taught Industrial Arts in high school at Chelmsford, MA, and later in Kingston, NH, and earned a Master’s Degree in Education in 1964 at Rivier College. In 1968, he retired early to concentrate on the care and management of Paine’s Campground. Once back in Wellfleet full time, he delighted in adopting the gruff persona of an Old Salt. It was with intelligence and wit that he served for years on the Wellfleet Board of Health. Bob read vociferously, and was a true fan of all things mechanical, as evidenced by the collection he kept at the homestead in Paine Hollow. He owned a railroad locomotive that ran on iron tracks from the house 1000 feet down to the shore, and he had shops full of vintage car parts and tools, in which many a collector has had a great trading session with Bob.

Bob was predeceased by Cynthia in 1999, and by his brother Abbott O. Paine, Jr, in 2010. He is survived by seven offspring: Irene Paine and her husband Jim Wolf of Yarmouth Port; Robert “Bud” Paine and his wife Sheila of South Wellfleet; Sarah Paine Curley and her husband Steve Curley of South Wellfleet, Naomi Paine of Carolina Beach, NC; Amy Paine of South Wellfleet; William Paine of San Rafael, CA; and Evelyn Paine of Yarmouth Port. Bob’s spirit will be carried forth by his 17 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. A nephew, three nieces, and their offspring also survive him. Sincere thanks are due to VNA Hospice for their great concern and care.

Visiting hours will take place at Nickerson Funeral Home in Wellfleet on Tuesday, December 12th from 3-8 PM. A family service will be held on Wednesday, December 13th, at 11:00 AM, followed by burial at South Wellfleet Cemetery. For online condolences please visit


  • Visiting hours Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Robert Stacy Paine

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December 19, 2017

My sincere condolences for the loss of your loved one. May you find comfort in knowing that those who die God keeps in his memory because they are precious in his eyes.
Psalms 116:76

Michael DeSimone

December 11, 2017

My deepest sympathies to the entire Paine family. Bob was a great man whose memories will live for many generations.

The Staff of Nickerson Funeral Home

December 8, 2017

We wish to extend our deepest sympathies at this difficult time.