Robert Livingston Loud, 84, of Lincoln, died of congestive heart failure on December 28, 2017 peacefully at home surrounded by his family.
Rob was the son of John and Mary Loud of Lincoln, a town where Rob lived most of his life. Rob was afflicted with tuberculosis at the age of 3, resulting in numerous orthopedic surgeries over the years, but he surmounted these challenges with a fierce resolve to be active and enjoy life. His radiant smile, curiosity, and joie de vivre were infectious. He was usually the first to shout “Bravo!” at the end of a great performance and would joke in a crowded elevator to make everyone laugh. No one forgot Rob’s strong handshake. Rob regularly wrote letters of appreciation or reflection, always preferring pen and paper to e-mail.
Rob graduated from Weston High School in 1952 and from Harvard College in 1956. Growing up in a musical family, he played the flute and the guitar, and singing with the Harvard Glee Club was a highlight of his college years. As an adult, he sang with the Cantata Singers and, most recently, with the Harvard Radcliffe Chorus. Rob’s magnificent tenor voice and charismatic leadership brought joy to all when he led carol parties and singalongs.
After college, Rob joined the Merchant Marines for one year, then studied voice in Vienna before returning to Harvard for a master’s degree in music education. Rob taught music at the Hawken School in Cleveland, in the Sudbury public schools and at the Cambridge Friends School, where he met his bride, Gwyneth Elkinton. They became engaged after just three weeks and were married at Westtown School outside Philadelphia in 1966.
In 1969, Rob switched careers and pursued a master’s in library science at the University of Denver. He worked at the Concord Public Library and Hudson Public Library before spending 20 years as the librarian at St. Elizabeth’s School of Nursing in Brighton. His library skills were also evident in his well-organized files, books, and records at home.
Rob and Gwyn raised two daughters in their red house on Conant Road in Lincoln and enjoyed a rich family life of gardening, music, birding, camping, travel, and raising bees and chickens. They attended the Boston Symphony regularly and were Anglophiles, visiting relatives and friends in England many times over the years. Rob didn’t let his orthopedic challenges stop him; he painted the outside of their home multiple times, did carpentry projects both large and small, and built a treehouse for his girls, complete with a “space trolley.”
In the 1970s, Rob read aloud and recorded the Freddy the Pig book series by Walter R. Brooks to his daughters. After he donated a set of the tapes to the Lincoln Library, a small Freddy the Pig fan club discovered his talents and he quickly became a celebrity reader at the biannual Friends of Freddy conventions.
Rob and Gwyn were also active members of Wellesley Friends Meeting (Quakers).
Rob loved Lincoln, attended Town Meeting faithfully, and enjoyed reunions of his eighth-grade classmates. He was a thespian with the Lincoln Players and active on various town committees such as the Cultural Council, Historical Society, Commission on Disabilities, and Codman Community Farms.
Rob is survived by his beloved wife of 51 years and two daughters, Miranda Loud of Watertown and Rebecca Zug of Wilmington, Del.; his son-in-law James Zug, two grandsons, Livingston and Collier; his sister, Jean Mallary of Hanover, NH; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service will be held at the First Parish Church in Lincoln on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m., jointly led by Wellesley Friends Meeting, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Westtown School, 975 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA 19382; Friends of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA 02115-4511; or Friends of the Lincoln Council on Aging, P.O. Box 143, Lincoln, MA 01773.