Robert T. MacBain
Robert “Bob” MacBain joined the angels of our universe on July 17, 2021 from his home with his family by his side. For his 93 years on Earth, Bob was a devoted family man, husband, father and community leader.
Bob and Tina have been residents of Mumford Cove for over 30 yrs and previously lived and worked in New Britain and Torrington. Bob was the eldest son of Robert Blanche and Minerva “Minnie” (Boje) MacBain with whom he grew up with his brother, Donald, and pet raccoon, Petey, in Bronx, NY and summers at Candlewood Lake.
A highly motivated and focused student, Bob was admitted to and graduated with honors from the renowned Stuyvesant High School in NYC. Working both part-time and full-time while a full-time student, he paid his own way to complete his B.S., cum laude, in Social Studies with a minor in Psychology from CCSC. Bob and Tina met while attending CCSC and became the enduring love of each of other’s life, joyfully marrying in 1953. He earned his M.A. in Psychology and later completed coursework toward a Ph.D. at NYU.
One of the first industrial psychologists in the U.S., Bob served as a Personnel Psychologist for the U.S. Army at the New Haven Induction Center during the Korean War. He was responsible for testing and interviewing enlistees who had failed the Army’s qualification test to determine ‘administrative acceptability,’ assuring troops could rely upon fellow soldiers to perform in wartime efforts.
Bob was first employed for 10 years by the Torrington Company as Industrial Psychologist, then promoted to Personnel Manager while founding and chairing the Torrington Mental Health Association. In 1964 he was recruited by Stanley Works to be its Employment Manager and was promoted to Personnel Manager and then Corporate Manager of Public Affairs with responsibility for labor relations, EEO/AA, and leading its ‘corporate conscience’ across the U.S. At night, Bob taught graduate school courses in Industrial Psychology at CCSU, served as a Board Member for the New Britain Symphony, President of New Britain’s Mental Health Association, and Board Member, Chair, and Chief Labor Negotiator for New Britain Public Schools to improve the quality of education for New Britain students, including that of his own children. In 1971, Bob also served on Governor Meskill’s Etherington Commission to improve services and reduce expenditures in CT and then conducted and implemented recommendations of the New Britain Government Management Study.
In 1975, Bob’s career took a turn when Stanley Works’ CEO, Don Davis, suggested he apply for the role of EVP for the New Britain Chamber of Commerce to enhance the relationship between Stanley Works and the City. As EVP for 15 years, Bob successfully secured New Britain as Connecticut’s first enterprise zone and its being on the path of Rte 9, pivotally enhancing its access. He also significantly improved City loan funding success, more than tripled Chamber membership, and strengthened the City’s image, business community and job training opportunities. By leading the City’s renaissance, Bob earned New Britain a visit from Ronald Reagan where the President’s new Economic Bill of Rights was unveiled in July, 1987. Bob also served as Board Member, VP, and President of the CT Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and was appointed by Governor Grasso to chair and develop the Balance of State Private Industry Council to determine allocation of federal funds under the Job Training Partnership Act.
He semi-retired in 1990, and began working with Colliers Dow & Condon as a commercial real estate agent, served as a member of the Board of Directors for Mumford Cove Association, and co-founded, with his daughter, The Human Resource Consortium, LLC, the first comprehensive and integrated systems HR consultancy on the U.S. eastern seaboard. Bob fully retired in his later 80’s. His career legacies will continue to serve as foundations for continued momentum in CT.
Throughout his life, Bob’s public persona was quiet-natured, positive, thoughtful and deliberate, giving, humble, and one of inner self-confidence and high levels of empathy. He also was a trail-blazer and remarkable mentor to many with a soul of integrity. When not working, teaching, or serving as a volunteer leader, he was passionate about exploring the world with Tina (including annual forays to Puerto Vallarta), sailing his Cal 20 “Findrinny” and later Kelt 8M “Amitie” to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket (with or without use of electronics), teaching and playing chess, engaging in lively dinner discussion with diverse friends, attending fine and performing arts events, listening to classical music (loudly), reading, story-telling, Sudoku, and was typically an unsuspected prankster. His was a life that touched thousands in a positive way. It is hoped that his concern, love and caring for others continues to pay forward by those he benefitted.
Bob is survived by the love of his life and wife of 68 years, Tina (Vasile) MacBain and daughter, Regan MacBain Traub. He also is survived by Theodora Martin-Kirkland (daughter-in-law) and Menemsha Morgan MacBain (granddaughter), extended family, and friends. He was predeceased by Robert Blanche and Minnie MacBain (parents), Joseph and Antoinette Vasile (parents-in-law), Donald MacBain (brother), Robert Bruce MacBain (son), Deirdre Joan MacBain (daughter), and Carl Franz Traub (son-in-law).
Bob’s family is appreciative to Hartford HealthCare including Dr. Warren Fields, Dr. Sapna Kupchandani, Backus Hospital, Care at Home, Independence at Home, and Hospice for his supportive care the last couple years while battling Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia.
His family will receive relatives and friends on Friday, July 30th from 10-11 am at the Mystic Funeral Home at 51 Williams Avenue, Mystic. A service will immediately follow at 11 am at the funeral home concluding with military honors. Memorial donations to honor Bob may be made to Anderson Island Irregulars Sailing Association for the continued care of Amitie, Groton Public Library to support his passion for reading and education, or Hartford HealthCare/Backus Hospital Foundation. Please share a special memory of Bob online at www.mysticfuneralhome.com.