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Community reflects on loss of ‘genuine’ man

Executive Editor

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

Pettigrew

Courtesy

Bob Pettigrew (left, pictured here with his son Bobby) spent more than 20 years working in the MUB.

“Of course,” Bob said to them. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t a Justice of the Peace. He’d fill out the necessary forms to become one.

After a year and a stack of paperwork, Bob was certified to marry them. But in the time during the process, Kyle and Jennifer changed their minds. They wanted to be married in Maine now.

No matter, Bob thought. He’d just find a way to become of a Justice of the Peace in Maine. That didn’t work out though.

So, in May of 2011, Bob officially married Kyle and Jennifer in the student senate office of the MUB with friends of the two standing around them.

A few days later, the couple held their ceremony in Maine.

“My best memories happened with Bob in the MUB,” Kyle said with a laugh.

‘A great sense of humor’

Bob’s passion, according to co-workers, was with the students. But his loud laugh, and upbeat personality made him close with his co-workers.

He was a fan of New England sports teams and never missed the chance to heckle a New York fan.

“He had a great sense of humor,” David May, assistant vice president of business affairs, said. “He’d bust your chops, but he’d always be able to take it back.”

May and Bob worked together for five years in the UNH Dining department, and recalls Bob helping him create the dining budget during his first week on the job.

“I was brand new here and Bob really helped me get through that,” May said. “The rest is history.”

Lustgraaf remembers a time when a UNH worker who didn’t often work with students approached Bob and asked him how he got any work done with students constantly in his office.

Bob just looked back at him and laughed out loud.

“All he could do was laugh,” Lustgraaf said. “His passion for students was always there.”

About 10 years ago, Bob went golfing for the first time in his life with fellow new-golfer Ron Bailey, who has worked in the MUB for the last 16 years.

He was always up for anything, Bailey said.

The two took their hacks at nine holes at a course in Somersworth.

“We hobbled around,” Bailey said. “We just talked and enjoyed our company. That’s what he was all about.

“I considered him a very good friend and I’m really, really sad that he didn’t get to make it to many years of retirement.”

‘Life is short’

Bob used to tell his family not to cry when he passed away.

“It should be a celebration,” he would tell them. In the days since his passing, his family said they’ve tried to keep that in mind.

“It’s impossible though,” Holly said. “We have been laughing a lot looking back on everything. He would be laughing too.”

Bobby, who lived a short drive away in Dover, called his father every day at lunch and most nights before bed.

On Friday, the day before Bob took his last breath, Bobby stopped by his father’s house.

He remembers their conversation vividly. It was eerie, Bobby said.

“He looked at me and said ‘Life is short Bobby. Make the most of it.’”

Then Bobby got ready to leave his father’s house. He looked at his dad and told him he loved him.

“I love you, too,” the father replied. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

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