Longtime Wellfleet resident Robert DuBeau succumbed to Parkinson’s disease on Jan. 21, 2023 after trying to ignore the affliction for years.
Bob was born in Willimantic, Conn. in 1934, the third of four children of Conrad and Esther (Parent) DuBeau. He attended Windham Regional High School, where as a freshman he met his future wife, Marsha Turshen. He was admitted to Harvard, where he worked to pay his tuition by establishing a food concession at the residence houses. By the time he graduated in 1956, his multi-employee business was taken over by the college as part of its food service.
Bob first fell in love with the Outer Cape when, shortly after graduation, he was drafted and stationed at Camp Wellfleet — then an Army outpost near Marconi Beach in what is now the National Seashore. After his discharge, Bob attended the University of Connecticut Law School and entered practice in nearby Rockville. Bob, Marsha, and their growing family soon started vacationing in Wellfleet.
After several years of renting, they purchased a cottage on Lieutenant Island before it had electricity or telephone service. As their children reached driving age, the tide-ruled access to the island became untenable. Wishing to stay in the area, they were among the first to purchase a parcel of the former Camp Mar-Ven and Camp Chequessett, converting the old counselor and guest house into a summer cottage. When they retired, they renovated the house for year-round use and moved to Wellfleet.
Bob quickly became a member of the Wellfleet Housing Authority, helping to provide affordable housing for year-round local workers. He helped found Nauset Neighbors, the volunteer network to help aging residents stay in their homes. He was the first representative from Our Lady of Lourdes parish to the area interfaith council. He was an enthusiastic golfer at the Chequessett Yacht & Country Club and a volunteer at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.
Bob was full of wit and fun, once leading a passel of family kids down Commercial Street in Provincetown after a Marx Brothers movie at the Waters Edge Cinema, all striding like Groucho. Many friends from Rockville were invited to visit the DuBeaus on their Wellfleet vacations, and several, including Pat and Dick Dimock, established their own connections to the Outer Cape in part based on Bob’s enthusiasm.
“You don’t have a boat,” said one curious friend. “You don’t seem to like sitting on the beach. What is it about Wellfleet?” to which Bob answered, “I just love to look at it.”
Bob is survived by his wife, Marsha; his five children: Dr. Catherine DuBeau of Lebanon, N.H., Matthew and wife Leslie Haynes-DuBeau of Nyack, N.Y., Peter and Lisa DuBeau of Norfolk, Va., Adam and Lauren Love-DuBeau of Marcellus, N.Y., and Sarah DuBeau-Farley and Stephen Farley of Dorchester; his grandchildren, Madeline, Henry, Julia, Jack, August, Sam, and Elise; and the families of multiple nieces and nephews.
A memorial Mass and celebration of his life will be held in the Boston area on a date to be announced. Remembrances can be posted at lehmanreen.com/obituary/Robert-DuBeau. Donations in Bob’s memory may go to the Parkinson’s Support Network of Cape Cod, American Parkinson Disease Association, Massachusetts chapter.