Wynantskill - Robert Paul Mammen of Wynantskill, age 71, passed away on Wednesday, August 28, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. Bob was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on February 23, 1948 and was the devoted son of William John Mammen, Sr., and Elizabeth Carrington. He grew up in Massapequa on the south shore of Long Island and graduated from Siena College in 1970 with a BA in Political Science. He enjoyed a very successful thirty-three-year career as a salesman and a sales manager with the Unifirst Corporation and retired in 2013.
Bob married the love of his life and his best friend, Elaine Durivage on November 15, 1975 and he often said that his life did not really begin until after he met Elaine in 1974 and he loved her more than life. They recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. Bob and Elaine derived a great sense of pride in having built their beautiful home on family farmland in Brunswick, N.Y., with the help of Elaine’s father, Felix. They enjoyed the ocean and the beach and traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and especially enjoyed their annual trips to Hilton Head Island.
Bob was a voracious reader of American historical non-fiction. He revered Lincoln and his book shelves were filled with literature on our 16th President. His favorite quotation on Abraham Lincoln are the concluding lines of Lewis Lehrman’s “Lincoln At Peoria” who wrote: “Hovering over the whole history of Mr. Lincoln’s pilgrimage, there lingers the enigma of a very private man – the impenetrable shadow of his profile. We scrutinize Lincoln’s character, but we see him through a glass darkly. So we mine his papers, sap the memoirs of those who knew him, plumb his personal relationships. Still he escapes us. Like a luminous comet, he had for a twinkling thrust himself before our eyes, the eyes of the world, there to vanish into the deep whence he came.”
Bob’s special interest however, was colonial American cultural history and a search for the earliest sources of our national character. He began to collect rare early American almanacs – the most popular publication in colonial America – in 1981, and the collection eventually became one of the largest in private hands. He also immersed himself in analytical and descriptive bibliography which requires a thorough working knowledge of the printing methods used during the hand press era (1450-1830). He authored a large number of scholarly essays and original research papers on these and other related topics. Bob was a member of The Society of Early Americanists for many years and felt strongly that preserving and understanding our nation’s past was a profoundly important matter. At the heart of his collecting activities there was always a genuine love of learning and his scholarly pursuits as a rare book collector and an independent research scholar were his chief means of relaxation and leisure away from a demanding professional career. He would tell those closest to him that these activities helped to sustain a sense of himself as a meaningful person passing through time. He was a member of the Brunswick Historical Society and for a time served on the Board of Directors.
He is survived by his loving wife and his siblings, Elizabeth (Robert) Sheehan of Manhattan and Mattituck, L.I., Thomas C. (Deirdre) Mammen of Delmar, Julia (Samuel) Lund of Chestertown, Maryland, and Ellen Mammen of Manhattan, Mother-in-Law, Betsy Durivage, Brother-in-Law, William Durivage (Monica), as well as ten nieces and nephews. Bob was predeceased by his parents and a brother, William John Mammen, Jr., as well as his cherished father in law, Felix.
Bob and Elaine wish to extend a special thank you to Monica for her care and support.
Bob was a proud member of Sacred Heart’s Saint Vincent de Paul Society for nearly twenty years and was a regular attender of daily Mass. In accordance with his wishes, there will be no wake. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at Sacred Heart Church Pawling Avenue in Troy, N.Y. on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 11AM. A brief graveside ceremony will follow immediately after at the Eagle Mills Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in memory of Robert P. Mammen to the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society 3 Oakland Avenue Menands, NY 12204 or St. Peter's Hospital Cancer Center 310 S. Manning Blvd. Albany, NY 12208.
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Mohawk Hudson Humane Society
3 Oakland Avenue, Menands NY 12204
St. Peter's Hospital Cancer Center
310 S. Manning Blvd., Albany NY 12208