Robert McDermott

Robert "Bob" McDermott

September 4th, 1938 - March 24th, 2021
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Robert "Bob" James McDermott made his last peaceful gesture on March 24, 2021 by slipping away gracefully and in his words from “a life lived without regrets.” A statement made by a friend of Bob’s captures his essence very well, “Bob lived a better story than he could tell.” Risk, challenge, a service to others, family and adventure fueled his life.

Bob was born to the late John “Jack” McDermott and the late Annette Mary (Owens) McDermott on September 4, 1938 in Utica, NY. He was born in an era following the great depression and his three sisters and his parents shaped his life. His early years were full of mischief. He was prone to challenging his sisters with obnoxious pranks and other misdeeds. One antic included stealing his mother’s car while she was at work then returning it before she returned home from work. Annette at one point turned his bedroom into a makeshift jail offering him only a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water to prepare for what she warned would be his potential future.

Bob dropped out of school in the eighth grade and later at age of 17, joined the Navy and served his country for nearly seven years. Highlights of his service included crossing the Arctic Circle in 1957 on the Myles C Fox destroyer. He went on to serve in the construction of the USS Theodore Roosevelt nuclear submarine and on passing a final interview with Admiral Rickover joined as a crewmember. With a good conduct medal and honorable discharge, Bob went on to work as a nuclear plant operator at the Hanford Facility.

Bob met the love of his life Patricia “Pat” Byrne, at an early age growing up in Utica. They were born two days apart, in the same town and attended the same school for a period of time. They married on October 24, 1959. Bob and Pat had three children under the age of four when he started college under the GI Bill. He graduated from Washington State University with honors with a degree in Electrical Engineering and a fourth child on the way. Life was challenging and money was tight in the early days for the family, nevertheless, with frugality in mind he would take his young family on extended camping trips across the West, every summer and on college breaks.

After graduation, Bob joined the Atomic Energy Commission where he worked for 19 years as nuclear plant licensing inspector. With five young kids and Pat in college, Bob decided to leave the AEC to start two successful businesses, Hallmark Energy to provide energy efficiency services, and Loudon Electric an electrical contracting firm that he ran until his retirement.

While their family was still young, Bob and Pat moved from New Jersey to a farm in Virginia where they raised their five children. It was important to Bob and Pat to provide their family with a wholesome life filled with experiences and life lessons gleaned from hard work and farm life. Bob made time to provide service to his community, which included a neighborhood watch, EMT certification to support the community rescue squad and various other local projects. Bob never met a stranger, he was kind and saw the best potential in people, and he had a strong desire to help those in need.

Bob started a tradition of an annual family gathering that has continued for nearly 40 years and grown to include extended family and friends. Many of these gatherings were held in the Adirondacks where time was spent hiking, land and water sports, cookouts, large family meals and creating decades of wonderful memories. These annual gatherings were always an adventure and ranged to include a caravan of campers in Alaska to the jungles of Costa Rica. Bob loved his family and he was loved in return. He always made time to offer a listening ear and advice to anyone that sought him out.

In their retirement, Bob and Pat bought a boat, a diesel duck trawler named, “Slow Dance”, obtained his captain’s license at age 70 and had many cruising adventures with family and friends. They sailed thousands of miles from British Columbia to South America, through the Panama Canal and eventually finished their cruising life in Florida. During these years they also undertook a driving trip crossing multiple borders from British Columbia to the Panama Canal. In 2008 they moved from Virginia to the Adirondacks making it their retirement home.

Bob and Pat remained married and committed to each other for 62 years, through his many antics, their life challenges and adventures, while maintaining their sense of humor through it all. In the last few months of his ailing health, and during a pandemic he managed a cross-country camper trip, got out to vote, and planned on building a dream log cabin house for Pat and himself on Lake Champlain on a waterfront property. Bob stayed positive and stoic through his failing health, researching and trying best available treatments all while maintaining his dry humor to the end. In his last months and days he was surrounded by family, he would joke with a lagging smile, “it is like an Irish wake around here”. He faced his mortality as he did his life, making plans, leaving directives and instructions and taking care of everything possible. He was a friend to everyone that knew him. His wife Pat, two sons, three daughters, twelve grandchildren, a son-in-law, two daughters-in-law, a sister and two brothers-in-law survive him. He is present in our thoughts, our heart and will forever be missed. His dreams will live on, as we; his family continues to complete the vision of his dream house and live up to the example that he was.

Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to High Peak Hospice in Franklin County, Phone: (518) 891-0606 Website: | email:

Services were entrusted to Zaumetzer Funeral Home, Au Sable Forks, NY
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Essex County Veterans Cemetery
    1205 Co Hwy 8
    Westport, NY 12993
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
Scheduled at the Family's Convenience


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Nora Natof

Posted at 09:29pm
Dear Pat and family I have many fond memories when I lived in Lovettsville of Bob and your family. I wish you every sympathy and blessings To Everyone
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Jackie Stack

Posted at 04:03pm
Tears come when we think of Bob's passing....smiles when we remember the retelling of the intertwined stories of the McDermott, Byrne and Stack families. When he saw me he told his favorites; the ax to Anne's piano on the front porch of Lowell Ave., the engagement party where he assured my father that he and Pat were there to approve the "other family," the second wedding when he informed me, the bride ,that the McDermott's only give two wedding if another wedding should happen you're out of luck. All the stories, all the encounters were wrapped in good humor and love. You always knew he was in your corner and that you were loved. Peace to you could not have lived your life any better. Love, Jackie Stack and Mark Riggio

Alka Bromiley

Posted at 12:05am
We are Dean and Alka Bromiley the current owners of Bob and Pat’s boat Slow Dance.
Yesterday evening (Friday 26 March) Dean and I sat on Slow Dance with a very heavy heart having received the sad news that had Bob passed away.
Buying Slow Dance wasn’t just a business transaction with the McDermotts but a handover of a family member, a cherished loved one that came with a rich history that enticed us to wanting her even more then just her uniqueness. Once we became the new owners Bob and Pat stayed in touch and we became good friends. Bob was always there at the end of the phone to help and guide Dean as he started to learn more about this unique vessel. In October 2015 when we bought Slow Dance Bob and Pat came and stayed with us in Annapolis MD, we enjoyed a wonderful meal together as we found out the McDermotts also loved a good Indian curry!
In 2017 (unfortunately whilst Dean was away on a business trip) both Bob and Pat came to check how Slow Dance was doing, delighted with the changes we had made. They insisted on taking me to the same Indian restaurant as before ensuring I was home safe and sound after they wined and dined me sufficiently!
People come into our lives for a reason and the McDermotts will always be a big part of Slow Dance. They will always be apart of our lives with Slow Dance, apart of our family.
Our thoughts, strength and love go out to Pat and the family.
Bob, last night we sat on the deck of Slow Dance and raised a glass to you. Thank you for providing us a boat with so many stories that inspire us to have our own adventures on her.
Fair winds and following seas Bob as you embark on your next adventure.

Debbie Cox

Posted at 01:35pm
That was one of the best obituaries I I’ve read in a long time! I’ve read it several times now so that I could picture in my mind the adventures and shenanigans that I’m sure occurred. Though I have only known Bob and Pat for a few years, through Jen, Bob was always immediately Friendly, ready with a story or joke, that would make you laugh, at his expense or yours, making everyone feel welcome and part of the group, just generally fun to be around with that dry humor. May you all be blessed with great memories of all your adventures and share in all the love he has left behind.
“You were an angle in the shape of your Dad, when God takes you back, sing Hallelujah your home❤️“
Peace, love and health to you all.
Deb Cox

Martha Beaudoin

Posted at 12:26pm
So many good times were shared. We so enjoyed his dry wit and the benefit of his wisdom. Our condolences to the family (our family!).
Much love, Martha & Bob

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