Robert F. Derosier of West Hartford passed away on Saturday (June 8, 2019). The love of his life and his wife of forty-four years, Helen, predeceased him in 2003.
A 1940 graduate of Leominster (MA) High School, he was inducted into the army in March 1943.He underwent basic training in the combat engineers at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and then was selected for the Army Specialized Training Program and was sent to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri to study engineering. After three terms, the Army cancelled the engineering program and he was transferred to the 97th Infantry Division, Company L, 386th Infantry as a BAR man. The 97th Infantry fought in Europe including in the battle of the Ruhr Pocket, captured major German cities, and liberated the Flossenburg concentration camp before ending hostilities near Pilsen, Czechoslovakia as part of Patton’s Third Army. The 386th then became one of only two outfits which fought in Europe and then occupied Japan. He was discharged from the army in March, 1946. For his meritorious service in combat, he received the Bronze Star.
He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. A lifelong advocate for education, he began his teaching career at Manchester High School in Manchester, NH, in 1953 and went on to teach European and U.S. history at Hall and Conard High Schools in West Hartford, in addition to serving as the chairman of the social studies department for the West Hartford School system. As recognition of his achievements in teaching and to further his scholarship, he was awarded a John Hay Fellowship in the Humanities in 1965 to Northwestern University. He ended his career as a full professor of European history at the University of Hartford. He was immensely proud of his students and their achievements and kept in touch with many over the years, long past their time in his classroom.
He is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Dr. Frederick and Laidis Derosier of Raleigh, North Carolina and Attorney Robert M. and Susan Derosier of Exeter, New Hampshire, four grandchildren, Frederick, Gabrielle, Katherine, and Emily, as well as several nieces and nephews. There will be no calling hours and interment will be at Fairview Cemetery, West Hartford. The Sheehan-Hilborn-Breen Funeral Home, 1084 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford is assisting the Derosier family with arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.SheehanHilbornBreen.com