Robert Craig Atherton, 72, beloved husband of Donna Daly-Atherton, died at home with his wife by his side on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer little more than two months before. Bob was born in New London, CT on 11/3/1950 to the late Robert William Atherton and Elaine Lavin (Schoell). Growing up, Bob loved scouts, and in 1966, Bob became an Eagle Scout. After graduating in 1972 from what was then Southern Connecticut State College with a BS in Special Education, Bob worked at Horace Porter School in Columbia. In 1985, Bob and his first wife Gerri moved to Richford, VT where they bought a 22-room Victorian which they had hoped to turn into a bed and breakfast. While there, Bob became involved in the community, as he does everywhere he goes, working with several scout troops, serving as a Richford Trustee, Town Moderator, etc. all while teaching school in Bakersfield, VT. In 1994, Bob received his MA in Education from Johnson State College with a focus on working with the Gifted and Talented. During his years in VT, Bob worked in various other school districts and in the course of his work there, he and his wife took in several foster children. That’s who Bob was, a man who cared deeply about children, a man who would do everything he could to make life better for those who were fortunate enough to cross his path. Several years later, Bob moved to St. Albans, where he “retired,” but for Bob, retirement just meant finding a different focus for his energies. From 1999-2000, Bob attended the Vermont Leadership Institute at the Snelling Center of Government to become more effective in community advocacy and leadership. In St. Albans Bob used his skills on the COSA team (Circles of Support and Accountability), working to support ex-offenders who were being released by helping them to find an apartment and a job. Around this time, Bob also created a non-profit, “Read, Write, Communicate, and Succeed,” through which he helped offenders learn to read, so they could become productive members of society. After having been widowed, Bob married Donna Daly in 2013, thus bringing Bob to East Hampton where he found new ways to contribute to his new community. This included volunteering at Middlesex Hospital for several years in Outpatient Infusion. Bob also volunteered at the Senior Center and eventually became Chair of the Commission on Aging. In addition, Bob worked with Senior Resources and spent several years as a Medicare Choices counselor. During this time Bob also became interested in Tai Chi and began to teach a few classes at the Senior Center, all at no charge to help others. When Bob joined the Haddam Neck Covenant Church Community, again he quickly signed up to help with their annual chicken barbecue and Sunday morning socials. As Donna often says when describing Bob, his heart was as big as his belly, and Bob never tired of doing whatever he could to make life better for those who were in need. In fact, Bob often felt as though he had not done enough. In addition to his devoted wife and loving mother, Bob is survived by his sister Christine Almquist of Ledyard, CT; his brother Stephen Atherton and his wife Tracy of East Lyme, CT; and his brother Tim Atherton and wife Vivian of Ledyard, CT; in addition to his nieces, nephews, and numerous great nieces and nephews. Also left to mourn Bob’s passing are two of his foster children, several cousins, along with his five stepchildren and their families, including seven grandchildren whom he loved beyond measure. As far as Bob was concerned, being a grandpa was the best gift ever! Bob was pre-deceased by his dad and his brother-in-law, Carl Almquist. During his relatively short illness, Bob was well-cared for by the staff at Middlesex Health and the Middlesex Health Hospice Home Care team, and Donna would like to extend her thanks to them, as well as to Dr. Robert Levy and Dr. Matthew Nichols for their compassionate care. Friends and family are invited to call at the Spencer Funeral Home at 112 Main Street, East Hampton, CT on Thursday, February 9th, from 4-7 P.M. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Patrick Church, 47 West High Street, East Hampton, on Friday, February 10th at 11:00 A.M. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family at St. Patrick Cemetery in Mystic. In lieu of flowers, friends who wish may make memorial donations to Haddam Neck Covenant Church 17 Haddam Neck Rd. East Hampton, CT 06424 or the East Hampton Food Bank 43 W. High St. East Hampton, CT 06424 in honor of Bob’s desire to help others. To leave online condolences please visit www.spencerfuneralhomeinc.com.