Victor R Gava

April 12, 2021


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.

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Marie Waterman

April 21, 2021 8:01 PM

My Father wasn't a huggie father but I was told by my cousin that that was a Gava thing.  He did a lot for his family when we were growing up and as adults.  I would pull in the yard with a junk car and he would patch it and fix it up so that I could get a sticker.  After the third junk car and after I had my two girls he was sick of seeing me in those clunkers so we went car shopping.  I ended up getting an Oldsmobile that ran forever and he gave me the money to buy it of which I paid him back.  When my forced got air furnace blew he bought a furnace and put in all the baseboard heaters did all the plumbing everything.  I just had to pay for parts as his labor was free.  Mom bought a swing set for the kids and her and Dad came up to the house to put it together.  He was outside in the spring time with the nasty black flies putting up the swing set so the girls could get on it that day.  When he came in the house his neck and face was covered in blood.  He bought a color tv one out of two people in pine point to have the first color tv.  All the neighbor kids would come over and watch Bonanza in color.  We thought we were so cool.  Him and Mom built a home in Florida we wintered there how many kids can say they did that.  He was a very talented man.  Thought he would live a lot longer since his Mom was 101 said he was going to live as long as she did.  I guess he just gave up and wanted to be with Mom and his family.  RIP Dad

Crystal Waterman

April 21, 2021 5:47 PM

Grampy was more than just my grandfather he was the most stable male figure in my life for the majority of my childhood into adulthood. When my father was not around he stood in to help provide me with wisdom, advise, and life direction. I remember singing with him while he played the guitar, snuggling with him on the couch while be scratched my head and many geography lessons with the blow-up World globe. He knew I was a smart kid but struggling in life. I had dropped out of college at 18 due to fear of a huge college debt burden, moved to California for a year or so and then moved back home without a plan. He approached me with an option to join a branch of the US Military for at least 2 years and he promised to buy me a $20,000 vehicle of my choice. So as a young adult with pennies to my name the offer was very enticing. I did some research, and I finally joined the US Army as a medic for 4 years of active duty. He blatantly told me I needed the discipline, and the college benefit is what got me to sign on the dotted line. I completed boot camp, AIT and served 1 year in South Korea and then on my 1 month leave home him and my grandmother took me car shopping and they bought me a Toyota 4 Runner the same day. Men of their word are so important, and this man showed me that through hard work and dedication anything in life is possible. I am not sure where my life would have gone without that life experience but now, I have an MBA with no college debt, am an independent woman unafraid of the World, a small business owner and now I’m back in Maine living the best year of my life at age 40. I wish he was going to be around for the next chapter, but I know he will know what is happening in my life in spirit. If I am ever blessed with a family, I vow to create some kind of tradition like weekly spaghetti dinners. Love always and Forever, Crystal 

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April 21, 2021 8:37 AM
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