SKOWHEGAN — Robert MacDonald (Pops) died on Friday, Sept. 8, at Eastern Maine Medical Center with his loving family by his side. He was born in Skowhegan on Oct. 6, 1925, the son of Neil and Clara (Michaud) MacDonald. Bob attended Skowhegan High School and enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1943. He fought in the South Pacific in Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and other islands. He obtained the rank of Corporal and was honorably discharged in May 1946
Bob began his long work history of shoe manufacturing, spanning eight decades, in 1947 as a hand sewer at Norwock Shoe in Skowhegan, Me. In 1951 Bob got his first management job as the supervisor in the Handsewing Dept. at Skow Moc. In just six months, Bob was promoted as plant manager of the entire factory at the age of 26. In 1958 Bob went to work for Harold Alfond as plant manager of Norwock Shoe in Skowhegan. In 1962 he returned as plant manager of Medwed Footwear the old Skow Moc in Skowhegan. In 1972 Bob moved to Puerto Rico to be the plant manager of LuBen Shoe which was, while Bob was there, bought by Florsheim Shoe. In 1979 Bob was hired by Stride Rite Shoe as Vice President, in charge of all their shoe factories. He moved to Haiti to increase production in their hand sewn shoe factory. Under Bob’s guidance and training this factory grows to a production of over 17,000 pairs a day. In 1986, Bob’s son Bruce and the Tatsuno family started a hand sewn shoe factory in Lewiston called Eastbrook Corp. In 1991 Bob and his son start MacDonald Shoe in Skowhegan. The company grew to 90 employee’s and produced footwear for companies such as L.L. Bean, Cabela’s, Hitchcock Shoes, Eddie Bauer, Land’s End, and H.S.Trask. In 2005 Bob worked with his son at U.S. MedSys in Wilton manufacturing diabetic shoes. From 2006-2017 Bob finished his long career with his son Bruce and his grandson Todd at Pine Tree Orthopedic Lab in Livermore Falls. Bob was instrumental in setting up this orthopedic lab and laying out the factory, and doing all the pattern work for custom leather AFO’s and the custom shoe division. He had his hand in mfg. over 35,000 custom AFO’s for customers throughout the United States. These custom products enabled people to keep walking and Bob took pride in knowing how many lives he had helped in a positive way. He also hand cut thousands of custom shoes. He was working on modernizing the custom shoe division into using a computerized cutting machine at the time of his death.
After being discharged from the U.S. Marines, he married the love of his life, Marjorie Brooks, and they shared sixty- seven precious years of marriage together.
In 1950 he became the proud father of twins Bruce and Carol. Bob was truly a family man and his family always came first. Bob always attended all the activities that his children were involved in school and encouraged them to never give up in life.
As his family grew with Carol’s children Mark and Jodi and Bruce’s children Melissa, Derek, and Todd he was deeply involved and very active in their lives. All his grandchildren have many happy memories of their time spent with him, especially at his home on Oak Pond. God blessed Bob with six great-grandchildren Alyssa and Kaden Salley, Ethan Clement, Tucker MacDonald, Grace and Ella MacDonald. Bob loved sports and watching Alyssa play field hockey and tennis, and Kaden play football and wrestle. Papa truly was their number one fan. He loved playing with Grace, Ella, and Ethan. Bob was a loving son who was so proud that he could to take care of his parents Neil and Clara as they lived with him for twenty-five years.
Bob was such a benevolent and kind man his entire life. He always considered the people that worked with him as his family. If someone needed help, whether it was labor or money he was there for them. Bob was always a great motivator and one of his favorite sayings that he used was “everyone needs two things in life at times, a kick in the butt and a pat on the back and they are both close to each other”. The old saying is that you judge a man in his life by the amount of friends he has not by the amount of money he has. If this is true, then Bob was one of the richest men I have ever known.
Bob was predeceased by his loving wife Marge, his father and mother Neil and Clara MacDonald, sisters Hazel Beaulieu, Leona, Eva Paddock and husband Ken, Mary Plourde and husband Robert, Dora Gagnon and husband Simon. Brother Frank MacDonald and wife Nina, Ronald MacDonald, and Eric MacDonald.
He is survived by his children, Bruce and wife, Lorraine, of Skowhegan and Carol and husband, Danny Clement, of Skowhegan; five grandchildren, Mark Clement and wife, Joyce, of Cornville, Jodi Salley and Ryan Porter of Skowhegan, Melissa Bourgoin and husband, Robert, of Greene, Derek MacDonald and wife, Stephanie, of Livermore Falls and Todd MacDonald and wife, Melissa, of Monmouth; six great grand-children, Alyssa and Kaden Salley, Ethan Clement, Grace and Ella MacDonald and Tucker MacDonald; brothers, Ray MacDonald of Skowhegan, Clarence MacDonald and wife, Sheila, of Topsham and Donald MacDonald and wife, Charlene, of Skowhegan, along with several nieces and nephews who loved their Uncle Bob.
The family would like to thank Dr. Prokop and staff, Dr. Lambke and wife Amber, all the nurses that cared for our dad, Reverend Mark Tanner’s continued love and support and many special friends whose company he enjoyed each and every day.