Former pastor of Greenwood Union Church

Published in the December 18, 2015 edition

Cruickshank-obit-webSTONEHAM — Rev. Dr. Robert A. “Dr. Bob” Cruickshank, D. Min, of Stoneham, formerly a longtime resident of Wakefield, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Daniels House in Reading, at age 68.

Born in Bloomington, Ill. on Jan. 14, 1947, Robert Cruickshank was one of two sons of the late Alfred Cruickshank and Mae Goodreau. After graduating high school, he began his lifelong love for education at Bob Jones University where he majored in Russian History and Psychology. He then received his master’s degree in Psychology from Andover Newton School of Theology, his doctorate in Ministry from Gordon College, and in his late 40s returned to school to receive his certification from the College of Financial Planning at Northwestern University. Known affectionately as “Dr. Bob” to friends and family, Rev. Dr. Cruickshank had a passion for life and a love for making people happy.

Dr. Bob gave of himself to others through his spiritual ministry and his love for educating. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bob served as the pastor of the Greenwood Union Church in Wakefield. He led the church with respectful guidance, serving as pastor for many years and presiding over many weddings, baptisms and funerals. It was there, that he fell in love with Geraldine V. Soule and they were married at the Boston University Chapel in April of 1982.

After retiring as pastor, Dr. Bob continued his ministering to others as a professor of Psychology for 37 years at Salem State University. Dr. Bob loved teaching and taught a wide spectrum of classes included Abnormal Psychology, Death and Dying, and Behavioral Psychology.

A professional student for much of his life, Bob had an insatiable appetite for learning. He was an avid reader, collector of books across a wide range of his varied interests and lifelong student of psychology and history. In his youth, Bob was a nationally ranked chess player and shared his love for chess with his son Jim. Led through life by his intelligence, youthful enthusiasm and love for learning, Bob found many interests that excited him. His other hobbies and talents included coin and stamp collecting, restoring classic cars and playing unusual instruments like the mandolin, banjo, accordion and balalaika. He cherished his family including his 120 lb. pet Weimaraner, Wolfegang Amadeus Mozart or “Wolfie.”

After receiving his certification from Northwestern as a Certified Financial Planner, Bob worked for Equitable Insurance as an agent in Waltham, then as an executive at Eastern Bank in Wakefield, and was a partner at Dublin Wealth in Wakefield. In the 1980s, he also served as the director of Planned Giving for the United Methodist Foundation of New England.

Dr. Bob was a member of the Wakefield Rotary Club, operated a private psychology practice in Wakefield and served as chairman of the Wakefield Housing Authority. In recent years, he found a spiritual home as a member of the First Congregational Church of Stoneham.

Above all else, his wife, Geri and his children, Jim and Tara meant the most to him. As each other’s best friend, Bob and Geri loved each other fully and unconditionally. Bob and Geri always held a trip to The Point Resort in Arizona close to their hearts, as well as vacations to Anchorage, Maine, the Heritage House on Cape Cod, and a special family trip to Italy. Even when apart, they found a way to enjoy each other through their mutual love of the HAM radio. As licensed HAM radio operators, Bob and Geri stayed in constant communication with their call signs (K1RVL and KA1IIB) while driving around Wakefield. He and Geri enjoyed lunch every day at the Dockside Restaurant in Wakefield for many years and became like family to the staff.

Bob was a caring, loving and engaging man with a kind heart, gentle nature and love for laughter. He put smiles on the faces of his friends, family, students and patients with his playful sense of humor and practical jokes. Bob’s memory will live on in the hearts of his family and the many people he touched throughout his life. Geri and the Cruickshank family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at the Dockside Restaurant for their friendship and the staff at the Daniels House for their loving care, comfort and support for Bob.

Dr. Bob was the beloved husband and best friend to Geraldine V. (Soule) “Geri” Cruickshank with whom he shared 34 years of marriage. Devoted father of James A. Wright of Stoneham and Tara L. Wright of Dover, N.H. Cherished grandfather of Auston and Morningstar Wright. Dear brother of the late Richard Cruickshank.

Relatives and friends gathered in honor and remembrance of Dr. Bob’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 4 to 8 p.m., and on Thursday at the First Congregational Church, 1 Church St., Stoneham for his funeral service celebrated at 10 a.m.

Interment at Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody.

Gifts in his memory may be made to the Dr. Robert A. Cruickshank Memorial Fund ( which will donate to First Congregational Church and several other of Bob’s favorite charities.

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