"Correction! Met Bob around 1964!"
Robert (Bob) Proudman passed away on October 18, 2018, at the age of 69, after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. He was born in Southington, Connecticut on December 4, 1948.
Bob will be lovingly remembered by his children; Ben Proudman and Katie Proudman (Brian), grandson Jack, former wife and long time friend Anne Post Poole, siblings; Harry "Chip" Proudman (Cathi), Joan Selmer-Larsen (Johan), Jonathan Proudman, his nieces and nephews, and many, many friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Valborg and Harry Proudman.
Bob dedicated nearly 50 years of service to the Appalachian Trail beginning in 1965, when he began working on the Trail Crew of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) of New Hampshire. Beginning at age sixteen, Bob, or "Bobe" (as he was known on the trail), rose through the ranks, becoming the first full-time, club-wide Supervisor of Trails in 1972. He was on the former Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) Board of Managers from 1975 to 1978 and joined the National Park Service Appalachian Trail Park Office in 1979-80. From 1981 until his retirement in 2017, he worked at the ATC office in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. He was a master trail builder, leader and mentor, working with ATC, the National Park Service, other government agencies, and within local communities to protect the entire trail from Georgia to Maine. He founded and inspired trail crews, ridge runners, caretakers and land- management, including extensive boundary survey programs, park law enforcement, and Search & Rescue operations along the Appalachian mountain range. Bob authored, with others, Appalachian Trail Design, Construction and Maintenance (1st and 2nd editions). In 2016, Bob went to Lake Hovskol National Park, Mongolia, to assist in park conservation and trail building, traveling on horseback to remote areas. Bob's background as a rock climber and mountaineer (which included first ascents in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and on Mt Katahdin in Maine) and his many, varied outdoor adventures, gave Bob the ability to sleep almost anywhere (hence his other nickname: "Bivouac Bob").
After retirement until his passing, Bob served as President of the Trail Crew Association (TCA). Bob's entire life's work was grounded in his love for the mountains and his passion for conservation.
His family and friends will greatly miss his kind and gentle demeanor, his deep wisdom and wide smile, and his witty, generous spirit. A long-term, active member of Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church where he loved to sing in the choir, Bob also devoted his time to the needs of his family, friends and the wider community.
In memory of Bob's long-term stewardship and commitment to those that continue to conserve the trail, donations can be made in his memory to the Trail Crew Association (PO BOX 100, Washington, VT 05675 or www.amctca.com) and Appalachian Trail Conservancy www.appalachiantrail.org
A celebration of Bob's life will take place on December 8th, 3pm, at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church (Shepherdstown, West Virginia). A reception will follow the service.
"Correction! Met Bob around 1964!"
"Very saddened to hear of Bob's passing. In 2012 we talked about biking the Cumberland Gap but regretfully never got it together. I met Bob at Framingham North High School around 2014 shortly after he moved here from Connecticut. After his first summer on "da crew" he came back and taught a few of us how to rock climb. Back then there was no better way to start your day than hear a light tapping on your bedroom window at 6AM with Bob saying "wanna go climbing?" We would head to the basalt cliffs near his home in Southington, Joe English rock near Pease in NH, Rattlesnake Rock in the Blue Hills or some other face to test our mettle. Bob was very safety conscious and subscribed to a periodical from the Park Service that analyzed climbing accidents. We would look forward to each new edition and would sit around reading these accounts and talking about them. Bob also got me more into hiking. When my children were young, I started them off staying at one of the cabins in the Whites as part of our hiking adventure. The cabins were well stocked with vintage Yankee Magazines from the 70s. At night I would find stories in the magazines about Bob's adventures and read them to me my children who are today, even more avid hikers. I regret that they never had the pleasure of meeting my great friend Bob Proudman, but we are all beneficiaries of his legacy."
"Bob and I spent our teens together singing in the church choir, going to boy scouts and summer camp. Our best time was the three weeks in July 1963 when we hiked most of the Long Trail. We even tried a week long winter trip carrying snowshoes over bare ground. It gave us both a life long love of being in the woods and a taste for adventure. I have not seen him in 20 years but am sad that I can no longer hope to get together. I am glad to see that Chip, Joanie, and Jonathan are all well. It was an honor to have shared so many significant growing up times together with Bob."
"I will be forever grateful to Bob for allowing me the opportunity to pursue my dream of working for the AMC in 76-77 as a shelter caretaker. After several volunteer stints of caretaking and trail work and a couple interviews in Boston I still remember the handwritten note from Bob welcoming me to the 'paid' crew. One line in the note remains with me today. It simply stated, 'perseverance furthers'. Thank you, Bob. Peace and honor to you and your family."
" Dec. 4, 1948 ? Oct. 18, 2018 Bob was one of the first persons that my wife and I met when we began attending Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church over 20 years ago. We were invited to be in a small Bible study group; Bob was one of the members. He was very welcoming and open, and it was easy to get to know Bob and to share our faith together. I have many memories of Bob, beginning with that Bible Study. There was also another Bible study that Bob and I led. There were all the times over the years when Bob and I sang together in the Psalm 150 Singers at SPC. Then the memories of Bob and his kids coming to my and Barbara?s house for holiday dinners and fun. The memories of Bob leading the Men?s Breakfast group. Serious talks with Bob about ?life.? Bob enthusiastically telling his avid listeners about his many adventures hiking trails and climbing mountains. So many good memories. I will keep them in my heart. Bill Kaplin - Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church "
"I only recently learned of Bob's passing -- very sorry to be leaving this so late. I worked closely with Bob many years ago (1980s) when I worked for ATC. Bob was a veritable encyclopedia of information about the AT, trail maintenance and construction techniques, and about all the volunteer clubs that maintain the trail. He was always happy to share his expertise. But his willingness to share information did not stop with trail issues. During the time I was at ATC my wife and I bought our first house. At the time I knew nothing about home renovations or maintenance, but Bob was very generous with his time, always willing to come over to show me how to do just about any project. I regret that I did not keep up with Bob after I left ATC, but I will always remember his delightful smile, his willingness to help and teach, and his sense of humor. My heartfelt condolences to all his family and loved ones."
"There is a deep hole in my heart today. Bob was a kind and strong man, one who shared so much with so many, in a quiet manner. We met in the early 90's where he taught me much of what I use to day to build and maintain trails. His legacy will remain in the trail world for many, many years to come. I offer condolences to the many who mourn this special person...especially Katie and Ben. I am grateful to have known him !"
"I am so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I had the honor of working with Bob while on the Board of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Bob has left a legacy of amazing work on the trail, in the trail community and by his transfer of knowledge to others. I always enjoyed our conversations about his adventures and the knowledge that Bob passed to me regarding building trails. I have and will continue to have this thought while hiking any trail " How would Bob have built this trail to make it better? " "
"Bobe had a sweet place in my heart, seeing him in his element at Shelburne. And his vision of building that cabin has enabled such strong bonds (not to mention shenanigans!) of TFC past and present. What a beautiful legacy. I'm so grateful to have known him. With love, a heavy heart, and gratefulness for Bobe's presence in all our lives, - Annie Doran, aka "Milly B", TFC 2001-2003"
"I missed seeing you as often at ATC as we both spent less time in the office...your friendly smile and greeting were always heartwarming...now I will miss even that. RIP my friend. . "
"How can you sum up the legacy this unforgettable man leaves behind in the Appalachian Trail? He was a leader in so many areas--trail design and construction and the development of trail crew, ridgerunner, and corridor boundary programs. He also helped develop policies to protect the A.T. from all kinds of threats and encroachments. Bob was the person you could go to with whatever challenges you were facing related to the A.T. and he'd either help you solve them or put them in perspective. He was a good storyteller and good listener, with deep compassion as well as a sense of humor, which made him very approachable. His knowledge and understanding of the A.T. was incredible. He was simply the go-to guy, revered and beloved from Maine to Georgia. If he didn't know the answer, he could tell you which volunteer in which of 31 trail clubs or which agency partner could answer your question or help you get things done. He helped so many others lead effectively. Whenever he was in the room at the thousands of A.T. meetings he attended, you had confidence that the A.T. was in good hands. And no matter what was happening in his life or yours, he always had a big smile for you."
"So sorry for your loss.... he meant a great deal to many. His influences on "the many crews" has ripple effects from each and in a few cases.... the influences reach around the globe. He was excellent at keeping watch over the many too. Had a problem with staph one year and had to watch the crews head out without me. Kept me busy with things in many directions and made sure I was healing up after getting sliced up with airlifts. Instilled well, "people looking after people".... 10% is what happens and 90% is what you do with it.... fond memories of the past - yes... but ?.still with impacts for the future yet to come.... generations will live with the byproducts of Bobe' and the crew's impacts.... the difference one can may can be astounding"