Former Newton, N.H., postmaster, who later retired as superintendent of the Ward Hill Post office Robert “Bob” A. Kneeland, 92, of Bradford, died Thursday morning, Jan. 28 at High Pointe House in Haverhill.
He was born in Haverhill July 26, 1928, to the late Richmond R. and Jennie (née Dufault) Kneeland.
A life-long resident of Bradford, Kneeland was educated in the Haverhill school system, graduating from Haverhill High School with the class of 1946 while enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He graduated from the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps School as a Hospital Apprentice 1st class Corpsman, serving as an enlisted member of a military medical unit until Aug.2, 1946. After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy on Feb. 17, 1949, Kneeland attended Merrimack College.
Kneeland’s professional career began at the former Merker Counter Co. factory in Haverhill where he worked as a foreman before beginning a 34-year career with the United States Post Office. His initial duties were as a clerk in the Haverhill Post Office, eventually receiving a promotion as Postmaster of Newton. N.H., later transferring to the Ward Hill Post Office in Bradford as Station Superintendent before retiring from the Postal Service in October 1992. Mr. Kneeland is remembered as a friendly, community-minded station superintendent who decorated his Ward Hill Post Office with antique children’s toys that he’d wind-up or turn on to entertain families when they came to send or receive letters and packages.
Kneeland was a lifelong communicant of Sacred Hearts Parish in Bradford and was instrumental in working with fellow parishioners in fundraising for the addition to the Sacred Hearts School in Bradford in the mid-1950s. He is a Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans, a member of the AMVETS Post #147, a member of the Merrimack Lodge, A.F.&A.M., as well as past Exalted Ruler of the Haverhill Lodge of Elks #165 with attaining Life Membership after serving 47 years in many benevolent capacities.
He will be best remembered for his love of telling stories and jokes, a lover of dogs, reading novels and history books, cooking, summers spent on the beach with a cold drink and the pride he took in his role as a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He believed in the power of education, hard work and true love.
Robert Kneeland is survived by his wife and very best friend of 68 years, Jean (née Abbott) Kneeland, who he lovingly referred to as “Babe.” They have three daughters: Roxanne (née Kneeland) Brown (George Lavigne) of Hampton N.H., Roberta “Bobbie” Kneeland of Huntington Beach, Calif. and Robyanne “Bunkie” (née Kneeland) Cormier of Bradford, Mass.
Their blended family includes five grandchildren: Amanda Donovan of Hampton, N.H., Sharaine (née Lavigne) Booth (Shawn Booth) of Rochester, N.H., Craig Brown (Kate (née Weaver) Brown) of Cromwell, Conn., Matthew Lavigne, Haverhill, Mass. and Meaghann Cormier, Bradford, Mass. as well as several nieces and nephews.
Kneeland was also the very proud great-grandfather of Mavis Ann Booth, Wyatt William Booth and Van Ross Brown.
Relatives and Friends are respectively invited to attend his visitation hours Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 4–6 p.m. at the H.L. Farmer and Sons Bradford Funeral Home, 210 South Main Street, Bradford. His Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. at Sacred Hearts Church, Bradford. The Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be livestreamed at www.sacredheartsparish.com.
Please meet directly at the church, preventative face coverings (masks) and social distancing are required at the funeral home and the church. Burial will be at Linwood Cemetery in Haverhill. The interment will be livestreamed on the Farmer and Sons Bradford Funeral Home Facebook page. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Organization.