Horace (Bob) Salop of West Tisbury died on Oct. 25 at Massachusetts General Hospital after a long illness. He was 86.
He was a beloved father, grandfather and friend who loved Martha’s Vineyard with a passion, and spent the last 30 years as a full-time resident.
Bob was born on Feb. 1, 1927 in New York city, to a family that owned bookstores in Manhattan, and he was raised in the Bronx. He graduated high school in 1943 at the age of 16, and attended college at Swarthmore. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he spent tours in the Pacific and Europe as the youngest officer in the Navy.
After graduating from Swarthmore, Bob received his master’s degree in education from New York University. He began his teaching career in the New York city public school system, spending time with middle schoolers before he settled into a long-term position at the High School of Art & Design, where he was a very popular history teacher. He retired from teaching in the mid 1980s and moved to the Vineyard. Bob frequently received phone calls and letters — even as recently as this year — from students who remembered him fondly and wanted to stay in touch.
Bob loved the Vineyard and could often be found at Menemsha taking pictures or walking around the panhandle in West Tisbury with his dog. He was an avid fisherman in his younger years, and always loved the water. His favorite sport was tennis, which he both played and followed with great intensity. He was also a prolific reader — perhaps as a result of his family’s bookselling history — and was usually in the middle of at least two or three books at a time. He was both a patron and former trustee of the West Tisbury Public Library, serving on the board that oversaw the project to move the library from today’s town hall to its current location.
Few things could take Bob from Martha’s Vineyard, but he could always be persuaded to embark on an off-Island excursion to visit his grandchildren, Rachel and Joshua. They were the apples of his eye, and he usually described them to acquaintances as the most beautiful, intelligent children he had ever met. Whenever they visited the Island, a trip to the Toy Box with Grandpa Bob was a priority.
He was a man who had simple needs, vast generosity, a great character and a loving heart. Both family and friends will sorely miss him.
He is survived by his sister, Shirley Swartz of Riverdale, N.Y.; his son and daughter in law Alexander and Kate Salop of Thompson, Conn.; and his grandchildren Rachel and Joshua. A memorial service was held at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center on Oct. 27.
Donations may be made in his memory to the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1829, Edgartown, MA 02539.