Dr. Robert Sander Shapiro Robert Sander Shapiro, MD of Nantucket, MA and Satellite Beach, FL, formerly of Watchung, NJ and Virgin Gorda, BVI, passed away peacefully at his home in Florida on Thursday, December 24, 2020, surrounded by his wife and three sons. Dr. Shapiro, affectionately known as “Bob” to his friends and “Bobby” to his grandchildren, was born March 15, 1935 in Trenton, NJ, the only child of the late Mollie (Wolfer) and Alfred Shapiro. After graduating from Trenton Central High School, Bob attended Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, graduating in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology.
In the late 1950s at Belmar on the Jersey Shore, Bob met Lois A. Kunzman of Plainfield, NJ. The two were married in 1958 in Newark, NJ and were blessed with three children: Michael in 1959, Jeffrey in 1961, and Andrew in 1965. He became a father-in-law to Sheryl, Mary, and Kim, grandfather to Matthew, Molly, Sam, Ben, Lucas, Jadon, and Olivia, and great grandfather to Blair.
In 1960, Bob graduated from Hahnemann Medical College with his Doctor of Medicine degree, and later started a three-year stint in the United States Air Force. After his discharge, Bob decided on the specialty of Ophthalmology and completed his residency training at United Hospitals in Newark, NJ. He then opened a practice of his own in Plainfield in the late 1960s, and over the next 35 years grew it to several offices in Central NJ. During his years of practicing medicine, Bob preserved or restored vision to thousands of grateful patients. In retirement, he continued to provide eye care at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, just because he loved interacting with patients.
Wherever Bob lived, he was passionate about being part of his community. He volunteered at free eye screenings at Lions Club pancake breakfasts in NJ. In Virgin Gorda, Bob participated as a member of VISAR (Virgin Island Search and Rescue) providing emergency medicine at sea. His Nantucket life found him building houses, along with his grandchildren, with Habitat for Humanity, leading the Pocomo Homeowners Association, spearheading efforts to encourage the use of bike helmets and was supportive of local young musical artists by showcasing them at live concerts at his home. Bob also co-founded community radio stations 97.7 ACKFM, 89.5 WNCK and Daybreak Nantucket, with his son Jeff. During his winters in Florida, Bob was guardian ad litem for newborns and was an oyster propagator in the Save the Reef Program.
Bob was always discovering new interests over the course of his life. He loved jazz and played saxophone and clarinet in high school and college. Most recently, he taught himself the banjo. He enjoyed tennis and golf, weaving baskets, building guitars with his grandson. He became an expert baker of sourdough bread and bagels—which he shared with many! He loved flying kites and started Sky’s the Limit kite store on Nantucket in the late 70’s with his sons. A lifelong avid learner, he read every book he could get his hands on and taught himself computer coding in his mid 80’s. But most of all, Bob loved being out on the water, sailing in Nantucket Harbor on Free Spirit, or on the seas of North Sound in Virgin Gorda. Having taken up seasonal residence in Nantucket in 1973, Bob was always active on the island with tennis, golf, cycling, surfcasting, and scalloping. Bob and Lois also traveled the world, lately accompanied by one or more of their grandchildren.
Bob was a man who gave gifts to those around him, whether they were friends, family or even total strangers, in the form of support, kindness, optimism, humor, and true friendship. Yet, he never asked for anything in return. He left all who knew him a wonderful road map on how to live a full and happy life.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be announced at a future date. Donations may be made in Dr. Shapiro’s memory to Nantucket Cottage Hospital or Boston MedFlight.