It is with crushing sorrow that the family of Robert David Petti, of Damariscotta, announces his passing on March 4, 2023, after suffering a stroke while at home.
Born on May 20, 1929, and raised in Bridgeport, Conn., Robert, or “Bob,” as he was known by most, was a man of humble beginnings who, through education, curiosity, grit, and unflagging decency, ultimately forged a remarkable life worthy of a Hollywood screenplay.
To reduce Bob to the specifics of his schooling and his occupations would minimize the sheer enormity of his accomplishments. He attended Tufts University, Princeton University, and the University of Wisconsin, and his unbridled passion for learning continued until he took his last breath.
He served in the United States Army, he was a teacher, and he programmed computers. His true career however, the one that became a part of his DNA, was as an intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. For 22 years, Bob traveled extensively, often at great personal toll, gathering classified information to further the interests of his country. From his home base in the Washington, D.C. area, he was sent on assignments all over the world. Frankfurt, Vienna, Hanoi, Berlin, Paris – all were cities he called “home” while performing his duties as a CIA operative. Later in life, Bob retired to Maine, which had previously been a favorite summer holiday retreat.
Ever the family man, Bob was lucky enough to experience the love of multiple families in his lifetime. His three children, Caroline, Judi, and Susan, were born of his first marriage to his college sweetheart, Ruth. He subsequently married Cynthia “Cindy” Petti, with whom he forged the strong community bonds that he maintained until his death. After Cindy’s untimely passing, Bob met and married the woman that he shared 16 precious years with, Daisy Greene. It was Daisy’s gentle kindness, artistic spirit, and unwavering devotion that carried Bob happily through the final chapter of his life.
Bob was an unforgettable, larger than life, character. He spoke German and French fluently, he had a penchant for classical music and fine art, and his love of all things history-related was legendary. He also had a brilliant mind, an uncanny grasp of world affairs, and unabashed political views. What really distinguished Bob as the formidable force that he was, though, was the grace with which he balanced his innumerable talents. He could deconstruct string theory, but he could also rebuild the engine of a 1976 Fiat Spider convertible. He was a renaissance man in the truest sense.
Without Bob Petti, the world has lost a bit of civility, couth, dynamism, and integrity, but those who were privileged to know him will forever be blessed by the example he set.
Bob is survived by his doting wife, Daisy; his daughters, Caroline, Judi, and Susan; his stepdaughters, Robbin, Abbey, Heather, and Karen, and their respective families; his stepson, Jonathan; and his beloved grandchildren, Scout, Cubbie, and Shep.
A celebration in honor of Bob’s extraordinary life will take place from 2-4 p.m., on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at The 1812 Farm in Bristol.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main St., Damariscotta, ME 04543. Condolences, and messages for his family, may be expressed by visiting stronghancock.com.