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Robert Arlen Childs (1931-2020)

Robert Childs

PHILLIPS - With his wife at his side, Robert Arlen Childs, longtime resident of Phillips, died peacefully at the age of 88, on April 14, 2020, at Edgewood Rehabilitation and Care Center in Farmington.

He was born in Waterville, on August 25, 1931, the son of Everett Manley Childs and Ethelyn Colbeth. He grew up and attended schools in Belgrade, then left home at an early age to start a long working life.

One of his early jobs was working on the highway tar crew in the Phillips area where he happened to meet a young lady who would soon become his wife. On Oct. 29, 1949, Robert, known by most as “Bob” or “Shorty”, married Laurette Bolduc, and they began a long life together spanning over 70 years. In 1951 he enlisted in the Air Force, serving as a heavy equipment operator at various bases in the United States, Newfoundland, and at Narsarsuaq, Greenland where he was selected Airman of the Month in February 1953. During this period the new couple added a son and daughter to the family.

After military duty, Bob returned to Phillips, residing on the same street in three different houses, including the last one which he helped to build. He worked a few years in the logging industry, hand-loading pulp in the early days before mechanical loaders were common and then drove the log truck to the mill. Always a lover of heavy equipment, he never met a machine or truck that he could not operate. These skills fared him well during a career with the Maine Department of Transportation where he worked on road construction in the summer and plowed snow at all hours of the day and night during Maine’s often harsh winters. To get to work over the years, Bob wore out a series of Volkswagen “Bugs”, each a different color, and would occasionally pack in four or five riders to commute to distant summer job sites. After retiring from MaineDOT, he co-owned a wood splitting and delivery business, used his own equipment to haul gravel and loam, and installed many septic systems for folks in the area.

Being a workaholic, Bob was not much into leisure activities other than snowmobiling in earlier days, but he greatly enjoyed learning how to fly and was one of the founding members of the Sandy River Flying Club. He earned his private pilot’s license and flew his own aircraft. During the annual Phillips Old Home Days, he was a fixture at the flying club breakfasts and cooked thousands of eggs over the years from the Club’s airport cook shack. Perhaps his greatest aviation-related accomplishment was when he witnessed a small plane crash right in front of him as he was driving his truck into Phillips. He stopped and pulled the injured pilot and passengers from the burning plane. Bob was awarded a certificate and honored at a local ceremony and earned the lifelong gratitude of the airplane’s occupants, all of whom survived.

Over the years Bob served the community on the volunteer fire department, assisted during Old Home Days events, served on the school board, and was a member of the Men’s Club where he enjoyed making lobster stew dinners. Bob became a Mason in the Blue Mountain Lodge in Phillips, a Kora Shriner, and was a lifetime member of the American Legion. He was a serial socializer who enjoyed talking with and helping young and old. He and Laurette spent many winters in Florida, initially hauling a travel trailer back and forth until they purchased a winter home for “snowbirding” via pickup. While there, he and Laurette enjoyed going to lawn sales and flea markets as well as meeting up with old and new friends from Maine and across the country.

Bob was predeceased by his two brothers, Lawrence and Kenneth. He is survived by his sister, Barbara Caouette of Florida; children, Larry Childs and wife Arolyn of Fairfield, and Carol Childs and partner Rick Enos of Mexico; and grandchildren Benjamin Desjardins and Kasey Childs.

No funeral services are planned due to the pandemic, but there may be a private family gathering at a later date. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 488 Farmington Falls Road, Farmington, Maine 04938.

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10 Responses »

  1. To all of Roberts family: So sorry to hear of Bobs passing. I always enjoyed joking with him when I would run into him. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this very sad time.

  2. Dear Laurette,
    Our sincere condolences on Shorty's passing. Trucking tor him was an interesting experience and we became longtime friends. I even got to fly with him to Vermont. Virginia and I both enjoyed our many Florida snowbird fun times with you folks, the Nortons and other" Maineiacs" for twenty plus years. Lots of good memories.
    Burchell and Virginia

  3. Condolences to the family. He will be sadly missed on the avenue.

  4. Shorty will be missed. He and I would always pick on each other..he was very jumpy and would leap if someone came up to him from the back...and said Boo. I have known shorty all my life and he and laurette were the nicest ppl I they are together with her passing a few days after he did..RIP my friends.

  5. Was a real fixture in the Phillips area community. My condolences to Larry and the rest of the family.

  6. Carol,

    So sorry to hear of your dad's passing, and I believe your mom's, too? They were a fixture in my childhood, as were you.

    God Bless,


  7. Larry, Carol and Families,
    So very sorry for the loss of both your parents during an already difficult time. We will always cherish the many fun and happy memories we have of them . Peace and comfort to you all.

  8. Condolences to family and friends. So many Flying Club and men's Club gatherings.
    Cherish the memories.

  9. Condolences to Bob’s family,
    My involvement with Bob, Leon, and Clinton building woods roads was always a pleasure.
    I got to learn about much local history, about social security, retirement and work in retirement.
    Families and summer gatherings along with snowbird activities, always something to look forward to, more than
    Looking rearward! Enjoy your truck of your dreams! RIP Michael

  10. We will miss Uncle Bobby so much. He was a big part of or life while in Florida.
    We send our condolence to Larry and Carol.