Victor “Bob” R Gava, known to many as “Captain Bob,” 93, of Scarborough (Pine Point), Maine, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on April 12, 2021 of natural causes.
Victor was born in Nazareth, PA in 1928 to Augusto and Elizabetta Gava and was the first generation born in the USA after his family migrated from Godega, Italy. He was the ninth child out of twelve siblings. He is predeceased by his brothers whom all served in the US military and their spouses: Frank and Emma Gava, August and Katherine Gava, Pete and Betty Gava, Baby Andy, Andy and Judy Gava, George and Catherine Gava, and James and Silvana Gava. He is also predeceased by his sisters and their spouses: Augusta Frey, Pierina and Joseph Deutsch, Rachel and Charlie Ossenick, and Amelia and John Zaleskie. He was married to Dorothy “Dotty” Merrill-Gava in 1947 and met her at a dance hall in Navy uniform on the OOB pier. Dotty passed away in 2015 and is greatly missed by her family and was a very dedicated spouse, mother and grandmother. He is also predeceased by his beloved dog, Hunter, whom he loved taking rabbit hunting.
Victor is remembered often saying his famous expression “if you knew what these hands knew!” He was a farm machinery mechanic, WWII Veteran, lobsterman, fisherman, police officer, pilot, fishing charter captain and plane, car and truck mechanic among other qualifications. He gave concrete meaning to the word, hard-work, and will always be remembered for his exceptional work ethic and level of knowledge for fixing everything and anything.
Victor grew up on a farm and was responsible for milking the cows as a kid and later was hired to fix farm machinery as a youth and often spoke of his out of the box inventions to make the machinery more functional. As a teenager he joined the US Navy and served as a security guard for an Admiral due to his expert rifleman skills. He ventured to Pine Point in the Navy and met his spouse, Dotty, and decided to stay in Maine to work and build a family to which he lived 73 years. There he began lobster fishing on a dory until he had the San R Marie built, which was named after his three children: Sandra, Rita and Marie. He was also well-known for taking out fishing parties to which he often had loyal yearly customers. Victor had a house built in Florida in 1963 that him and his family ventured to and from Maine part of the year until 2020. He bought a Cessna 140 tail dragger that he flew back and forth to Maine. His three daughters flew with him on a few flights and during one flight the wind was so strong many flights were grounded and he told his daughter that ventured with him “whatever happens don’t touch the controls,” and they landed safely. On another flight he told his daughter “we are so low we might hit the mountain because of the cloud cover don’t tell your mother” so they flew 5,000 ft straight up through the clouds so he could see again. Later, Victor bought a Cessna 182 and was the first to pioneer spotting fish from his plane for commercial fisherman mainly out of Port Salerno, Florida. He always spoke of seeing purple in the water and that was indication of fish that often resulted in catching thousands. He is also known for helping to engineer the original pier and co-op in Pine Point, playing the guitar and finally retired from taking fishing parties on the San R Marie in his early 80s.
Victor is survived by three children: Sandra Zook-Gava, of Biddeford, Maine; Rita Doody and her spouse, Fred Doody, of Scarborough, Maine; and Marie Waterman, of Falmouth, Maine. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Crystal Waterman, of Buxton, Maine; Bryan Zook and his spouse, Eden, of Deerfield, New Hampshire; Angela Coates and her spouse, Eric Coates, their children, Julia and Mitchell, of Casco, Maine; and Missy Waterman, of Falmouth, Maine.
A private family graveside service will he held on May 8, 2021.