Treat, Robert S.

Robert S. Treat U.S. Marine Corps WWII
Robert S. Treat U.S. Marine Corps WWII

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Date of Birth: 3/5/1926
Died On: 6/6/2008
Street Address: 3 Hix Ave
Service Number: 972675
Branch of Service: U.S. Marine Corps - Marine Detachment, U.S.S. Bon Homme Richard (Cv31)

Veteran Code: USMC-66

Robert S. Treat

Robert S. Treat was born on March 5, 1926 in New York City. His parents were Amos Sherman Treat and Gertrude Morris Treat. In Rye his family lived at 2 Halls Lane.

Robert attended Rye High School, Class of 1944 and Brunswick Country Day, and graduated from Staunton Military Academy, joining the Marine Corps in 1944. see Muster Rolls

During WWII Private First Class Robert Sherman Treat served as Light AA Gun Crewman 864 and Captains Orderly on the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard in the Pacific Theater, and often recounted his experience on the first ship to enter Tokyo harbor after Japan surrendered.

After his honorable discharge in 1946, Bob attended Amherst College on the GI bill, where he graduated with a BA in History in 1950. He was a deeply moral person who fought for racial and social justice all his life, so it is no surprise that while at Amherst he was instrumental in getting his fraternity, Theta Delta Chi, to drop racial and religious membership restrictions.

He also spent summers working on the Navaho reservation at Four Corners, Ariz., and with Hispanic communities in southern California. After college, Bob attended Union Theological Seminary and then Columbia University where he received an MA in History.

Following graduate school, Bob taught history and was Director of Admissions at The Gunnery, a secondary school in Washington, CT. During this time he met and married, in 1954, the love of his life, Mary Lou, with whom he shared his commitment to social justice and had many travel adventures and a big family - one of Bob's goals in life because he was an only child.

In 1955 Bob and Mary Lou moved to Putney, VT where he taught History and was Director of Admissions until 1964. Continuing his activism, Bob participated in protests at Woolworth's in Brattleboro to protest segregated lunch counters. His experience at Putney School, and the views of its founder, Carmelita Hinton, transformed Bob's educational philosophy for the rest of his life.

From 1964-69, Bob was headmaster of the Barlow School in Amenia, N.Y. In 1964, he and Mary Lou traveled to Alabama and participated in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, an experience that they never forgot.

After a sabbatical in Spain in 1969-70, Bob served as Executive Director of the Thames Science Center in New London, CT.

In 1972, he returned to teaching, striving to become ''the best teacher ever.'' He taught history and political science at the Northfield Mt. Hermon School in Northfield, MA, from 1972-93, where he also headed the history department for many years. Bob was awarded an Independence Master Fellowship and traveled for six weeks throughout Europe, visiting sites connected with his course ''Ideology and Revolution.''

Bob and Mary Lou retired in 1993 to their beloved Putney, where they renovated their future home. In the final days of his life Bob frequently mentioned his pride at becoming a ''true Vermonter'' as well as his love and appreciation for his family. Retirement gave him the time and opportunity to become even more involved as a volunteer and activist. Bob headed the Putney Town Democratic Committee for 10 years and also served on the State Democratic Committee.

Bob devoted himself to reforming the criminal justice system both nationally and in Vermont, advocating all his life against the death penalty. In Vermont, he served on reparative justice boards for 11 years. He delivered food for the Brattleboro Drop-in Center for 12 years and also served on its Board, being named ''Volunteer of the Year'' by the Center in 2001.

Bob was very active in the All Souls Unitarian-Universalist Church in West Brattleboro. He was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and worked all his life to improve the lives of others. Bob had a love of nature and the outdoors which he shared with Mary Lou and his children on family hiking and camping trips, and in support for conservation and environmental protection.

In 1954, Bob and Mary Lou visited Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, for the first time and fell in love with the land and its people. He built a summer home with hand tools on an old foundation at the very end of the road at Sight Point, Cape Breton, overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where the extended family continues to spend summers. Bob and his family carried out his commitment to conservation by protecting this land and public access to it through easements to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust.

Robert Sherman Treat, age 82, of Signal Pine Road, died peacefully in his sleep at home surrounded by his family on June 6, 2008. He died from complications of congestive heart failure.

At the time of his death, Bob was survived by his wife of 54 years, Mary Lou Strassburger Treat of Putney, VT, and children Sharon Treat and partner Robert Collins of Hallowell, ME; Roger Treat and partner Cathy Nicoli of Westminster, VT; Carolyn Treat and husband Chip Flanagan of Portland, ME; Rory Treat of Brooklyn, NY; and Jessica Treat and grandson Kai Haaland of Sheffield, MA.

Bob's family will miss his sly sense of humor, his generosity, friendship, and steadfast support. The family wishes to thank friends, caregivers, volunteers and Brattleboro Area Hospice who helped Bob stay at home during his illness.

A memorial was held in August 2008 at All Souls Church in West Brattleboro, VT.

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