Robert Smith McLuckie Jr. of Eastham, a teacher and master gardener, died on Aug. 3, 2023 at Cape Cod Hospital. The cause was respiratory failure, said his daughter, Lynne. He was 94.
Known as “Lucky McLuckie,” Bob was born in Paterson, N.J. on Sept. 23, 1928 to Robert Smith McLuckie Sr. and Rebecca Jones. He graduated from East Paterson High School and Montclair State Teachers College with a degree in social studies and a minor in accounting, unsurprising in light of his lifelong love of counting things — like the number of full wheelbarrows it took to whittle down a giant pile of mulch.
In December 1950, he volunteered for the Army and proudly served in Korea as a first lieutenant in the 999th Armored Field Artillery Battalion. By nature a peaceful man, Bob nonetheless loved his time in the Army — in part because he enjoyed the food but mostly because he cherished the camaraderie.
Throughout his life, he found fulfillment in being part of a team working toward a common goal, whether it was running track and cross-country in college or being a counselor or teacher. He and his wife, Sandy (whose hand he won despite wearing his sequined bowling club jacket on their first date), were both teachers. Bob taught social studies for 26 years, at River Dell Junior High in New Jersey and at Harwich Middle School.
Bob and his family moved to Eastham in 1979, and here his entrepreneurial spirit emerged. Over the years, he and the family ran East Orleans Beach Road Bikes, a bed and breakfast, and a Certified Coffee Service franchise.
In 1991, Bob and Sandy embarked on five years of teaching in Saudi Arabia, followed by two years in the Dominican Republic. They traveled the world, seeing all the places Bob had been teaching about in his social studies courses.
Returning to Cape Cod, Bob tried to retire, only to become a certified master gardener and work for 15 years at Agway in Orleans. That job allowed him to bring home a steady stream of plants, trees, and flowers to add to his beautiful, sprawling garden — his pride and joy.
“My dad said that when he woke up every morning,” daughter Lynne said, “he would ask himself, ‘How can I make the world a more beautiful place?’ ”
Bob was easygoing, attentive, nonjudgmental, and always eager to lend a hand whether it was to help a friend, maintain the gardens of the Eastham Methodist Church, or go miles out of his way to deliver plants that didn’t fit into the car of one of his customers. Generosity was an instinct and deep philosophy for him.
In sports, he rooted for the underdog and preferred an upset victory. He believed in fairness, common decency, sharing the wealth, making everyone feel included, and taking care of the underprivileged.
He sometimes said that, if he could do it all over again, he would have had even more fun in life.
Bob leaves his wife of 62 years, Sandy McLuckie of Eastham; son Tom McLuckie and wife Jane of West Yarmouth; daughter Lynne Delaney and husband Josh of Brewster; and three grandchildren, Andrew, Katie, and Grace McLuckie.
Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s memory may go to the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey, Perkins School for the Blind, Lower Cape Outreach Council, or the Eastham Methodist Church.