LEWISTON – Robert J. Fournier, 68, of Davis Avenue, Auburn, died after a sudden illness Wednesday, March 4, at Central Maine Medical Center, surrounded by his loving family and dearest friends.

He was born in Livermore Falls, on Jan. 11, 1941, son of the late Anatole and Annette (Nadeau) Fournier. Bob completed his elementary and secondary education at St. Rose of Lima School, Chisholm and Livermore Falls public schools, graduating salutatorian of the Class of 1959. He attended the University of Maine at Orono and transferred to Farmington State Teachers College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in K-8 education. He pursued his master’s degree in education administration at Gorham State Teachers College.

He married the love of his life, the former Alfreda Dufour in 1967 at St. Rose of Lima Church in Chisholm. In later years, their children gifted them with 25th and 40th wedding anniversary celebrations.

He dedicated his entire career to students in the Auburn school system as seventh-grade teacher at Central School, summer Head Start teacher at Stevens Mills School, principal of Chamberlain, Franklin and Stevens Mills schools, followed by his return to teaching at Lake Street School and as Discovery Team leader at Webster School. He retired after 30 years.

In 1997, he received the Maine Teacher of the Year award for community recognition of professional excellence and dedication in the instruction of Maine children. His life evolved around children, whether through his masterful teaching, directing school plays, officiating at YMCA swim meets, leading Cub Scouts, or just being the best dad and pepere. His contributions extended to his community at Sacred Heart Church, where he formerly served as parish council president, religious education coordinator and eucharistic minister. He was also a former member of the Jaycees and Knights of Columbus.

He was known for his love of the natural world, especially the ocean. It was with great joy that he introduced the “Voyage of the Mimi” and created the Land Lab concept for Auburn students.

He happily explored Maine’s tidal pools with his own children and grandchildren. He enjoyed brook and ice fishing, sailing, gardening and puzzles. He was a cutthroat cribbage player and voracious reader. He recently revisited his seasonal hobby of creating beautiful pine cone wreaths which he gifted to many. He always looked forward to baseball season and was a lifelong Yankees fan, never missing the chance to tease a Red Sox fan.

He will be sorely missed for his gentle personality, kind heart, service to others and his tremendous love for his family and friends. A phone call from any one of his three grandchildren always brought tears to his eyes.

He leaves his wife of 41 years, Alfreda Fournier of Auburn; a daughter, Melissa Fournier and her partner, Diane, of Bristol, R.I.; a son, Anthony Fournier and his wife, Stacey, of Auburn; three precious “miracle” grandchildren, Zoe and Evan Fournier-Swire and Andrew (AJ) Fournier; a twin sister, Barbara Cunningham of Parker, Colo.; and a sister, Corinne Drake and her husband, Henry, of Kents Hill.

His family wishes to thank the cardiac and intensive care units at CMMC for their outstanding care and kindness during his final hours. Husband, dad, pepere, our hearts ache and long for your warm embrace, companionship and wisdom and we are comforted in knowing you are waiting to see us again.

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