East Lyme – Robert J. Bulmer, 78, of East Lyme died peacefully at home on June 5th, after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born June 24, 1933 in Hartford, CT to John Bulmer and Agnes Jane Holda Bulmer. He was raised by his loving grandparents Frank and Mary Dubiel Holda surrounded by a large, extended family of aunts and uncles after his mother's untimely death when he was two.
After graduating from Bulkeley High School, he worked as a union carpenter where he earned enough money to put himself through the University of Connecticut, first at the Hartford Branch and later at the main campus. Here he pursued and developed his passion for scientific enquiry and graduated with a B.S. in Physics in 1957 and a later M.S. in Physics, completed in 1970 and awarded in 1985. While at UConn, he met his beloved wife, Marion Maselli, whom he married in August, 1955.
In 1957, Robert began work at the Sonar Transducer Division at the New London Laboratory of the Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory (later known as the Naval Undersea Warfare Center) where he flourished as a scientist of applied research in underwater acoustics in the development of sonar transducers. At the same time, he spent evenings and weekends constructing his home in East Lyme which he built nearly single handedly from 1960-1963.
His career took him around the world supporting fleet operations in such places as Andros Island (Bahamas), Nantes (France), and the Azores Islands (Portugal). In 1970, he was named head of the Transduction Engineering Development Branch. In 1978 he was selected to attend the seniors' program at the College of Naval Warfare in Newport, RI and received a Diploma of Graduation. In 1985 he was appointed to COMNAVSURFLANT in Norfolk, VA as Science Advisor closely followed by a move to London, England in 1986 to advise the Commander of the Fleet at CINCUSNAVEUR at the naval attaché. Upon his retirement from civil service in March 1990, he was honored for his "substantial contributions to sonar transducer development and outstanding service to the submarine sonar department." He continued to pioneer work in shallow water acoustics as a consultant and advisor to the U.S. Navy submarine fleet.
Robert is predeceased by his wife, Marion, with whom he enjoyed 49 loving years of marriage. He is survived by his children and their families, son Steven and Sandy Bulmer, and their daughter Jenna of Cromwell CT; daughter Cheryl and Mick Townend and their daughters Courtney and Jasmine of Gosport, UK. He leaves a brother, Jack, of Troy, NY and 7 nieces and nephews.
No one who knew Bob will forget his passion for life which included music on many levels. He had an intense enjoyment of Dixieland and Big Band Jazz, and also played the clarinet himself. He was a long-standing member of the Westerly, RI Band and served as its librarian and concert announcer for many years. He was a member of the National Physics Honor Society and served a term as its secretary. He was an avid supporter of UConn Men's and Women's Basketball and a lifelong supporter of the New York Yankees.
He had a strong involvement with the community and he served in several elected capacities including the East Lyme Board of Education and the Zoning Commission. He loved his coastal hometown, where he could fish, crab, scallop, and dig for steamers, where walking with friends on the boardwalk gave him solace during his illness, and where he had spent many family hours at McCook Point Park and the Hole in the Wall beach. He also loved the rural aspect of the area and served as president of the Nutmeg Mycological Society and was a fervent supporter of the original Thames Science Center. The true highlight of a New England summer for him was finding the first and best of the summer corn along with fresh native tomatoes.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 11:00am in St. Matthias Church in East Lyme. Calling Hours will be held on Monday, June 11, 2012 from 5PM until 7PM in Fulton-Theroux Funeral Home, 13 Lake Ave., Niantic. CT 06357. Please visit www.fultontherouxniantic.com for photos, tributes, directions and more service information. Please make donations in his memory to Hospice of SECT, 225 Dunham St., Norwich, CT 06360.