Robert E. Catlow

Date of Passing:

September 2, 2021

Robert E. “Bob” Catlow, a gentle, kind, curious, and loving soul died peacefully at Hope Hospice on September 2.

He is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Joyce (East Providence), and his son, Jeff and his partner Henry (NYC). He lived his life well, stocking it with love, exploration, experiences, memories, curiosity, and integrity. He is pre-deceased by his mother Alyce, his father John, his mother-in-law Isabel, his father-in-law George, and his brother-in-law James.

In addition, his loved ones that will miss him deeply include his brother William, his sisters-in-law Linda and Betty, his brother-in-law George, beloved nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews, his “grand-dogger” Zasu, his honorary grandchildren,

Jin-Lin and Jin-Yan, his life-long friends The GDOPs, cherished friends including Jim and Carol, Yan and Chem , John and Ruth, Ellie, Tess, and so many very dear family and friends from far and wide.

Bob was a proud veteran of the US Navy, in the “Silent Service” the submarine force, serving aboard the USS Picuda during the Vietnam War Years. This took him to many places including Key West, Norway, Cuba, Scotland, and Iceland. During this time he faced extreme adversity and while this was something he carried with him throughout his life, his time aboard heightened his empathy and capacity to make others feel good about themselves whenever they had the occasion to speak with him. On his official discharge, his Commanding Officer wrote of him “Your pleasant manner has contributed greatly to the high state of morale among your shipmates…(o)ur great Navy will continue to be great only in so far as men such as you devote a potion of their lives to service.”

A graduate of Nichols College, he also spent many years as a professional lumberjack competing throughout the country. One of his favorite memories was performing logging exhibitions at the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, NYC. Later in life he served as Master of St. Andrews Lodge #39 – a title that he took very seriously and to which he gave his full commitment and dedication.

A lover of nature, he was an avid skier, runner, bowler, golfer, hiker, and tennis player (he counted as a life highlight meeting the great

Arthur Ashe and having his photo taken with him) though he also enjoyed the quieter moments including family trips to Cape Cod and New Hampshire, road trips to Florida, reading historical and true crime novels, watching any sport on TV (literally ANY sport), and listening to music. Along with his wife Joyce, he loved nothing more than taking afternoon walks at Colt State Park, enjoying the company of their many friends over coffee and laughs, regularly traveling to NYC to see cabaret shows by dear friend

MargOH! Channing, or listening to local musicians at Crescent Park while watching the sunset. He always adored family celebrations and get togethers. Over the last few years one of his favorite things was to spend family time at the beautiful countryside home of his beloved niece Tammy and her husband Alan, sipping a beer (only one!) and simply enjoying that everyone was together and having a good time. His loved ones will continue to do this holding him in their hearts each time.

A Memorial Service will be planned at a later date for family and friends. In lieu of flowers, please volunteer your time at a hospice charity, children’s organization, or nature advocacy organization or make a financial contribution to Hope Hospice, online at or send a check to 1085 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02904

Online Condolences


  1. Dear Joyce and family and friends of Robert’s, on behalf of the United States Submarine Veterans, we offer our sincere condolences at Robert’s passing. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are always saddened whenever a fellow “Bubblehead” leaves on Eternal Patrol. We are grateful for Robert’s service to our country in the U.S. Submarine Service. He served aboard the USS Picuda SS-382. To our “Brother-of-the-Phin” we say, “Sailor, rest your oar. We have the watch. Fair Winds and Following Seas.” Thank you for your service to our country.

    Joyce, … may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV

    Robert E. CATLOW, QM3(SS) US Navy, now on Eternal Patrol.

    Rev. Ray Fritz (EM1-SS), National Chaplain USSVI.

  2. Bob and I were Nicon Foresters together and we travelled to various woodsman competitions around New England. I saw Bob a few times after I graduated and moved on to Penn State in 1963 . I saw Bob and the team perform at the Oregon Exposition at the World’s Fair. While I was in the Navy I bumped in to Bob at the Naval base in Key West and again (if my memory is correct) in a fast food place in Norfolk, VA as he was leaving town and I was just arriving. As I recall he gave me good advice on finding a place to live on Fisherman’s Lane. Bob was truly a great guy. A team player and fun loving. We had great times together at Nichols and I wish we could have reconnected again in our senior years.

  3. Dear Joyce and family,
    I’m saddened by the passing of Bob and hope that you are all doing well. Besides being a classmate at Nichols in the Forestry Program I shared some other experiences with Bob. We both served in the Navy at about the same period. While he was underwater I was flying over it. We also shared one summer working for the Massachusetts Dept of Natural Resources in Beartown State Forest living at Swann Lodge in Monterey.
    In his next journey I wish him “fair winds and following seas.”

  4. While we hadn’t had the opportunity to make contact since our college years , I have thought of Bob often and the many great times we had as Nicon Foresters. Miss you dear friend rest in peace.

  5. Howdy, as we affectionately called him was a great guy. You could always count on him for a good laugh.! We will miss him greatly. Rest In Peace. Love Kelly and Mimi

  6. Sorry to learn of the passing of a great shipmate from the Navigation department onboard USS Picuda. Bob was a terrific person, best memory is when we visited my grandfather’s boyhood farm in Norway and met all my relatives. Worst memory is when we lost Ltjg. Jerry Alexander and TMC Robert Small overboard. You will be missed shipmate.

  7. Dear Joyce and family, so sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers to you at this sad time.
    Cousin Sandy Duffy (Ashton)

  8. So sorry to hear about the passing of Bob. Many of his college classmates stayed in touch with him over the years, and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. He will always be remembered as a member of “The Best Damn Group that every lived”–the Nicon Foresters of Nichols College.

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