Robert Ducharme, Jr. was only 40 years old when he passed away from brain cancer in 1985. A 1963 graduate of Brunswick High, Bob served in the U.S. Air Force as a Jet Fighter Mechanic. He later was employed at Bath Iron Works. Bob’s father, Robert, Sr., was instrumental in developing Bob’s love of music. Father and son had an amazing talent to play all their music “by ear” without being able to read musical notes. Bob played lead guitar and was the lead singer of his band, “The Maine Edition,” which became the regular band at the Brunswick Naval Air Station Officer’s Club and performed at various events all over Maine and New Hampshire.
Bob married Sue Brillant in 1967 and together they had two daughters. Their youngest daughter, Kathie, fell at the age of 3, causing her to suffer a severe stroke which left her blind and paralyzed with multiple disabilities. Kathie endured many medical challenges. Bob found music provided him with the strength and sanity to deal with the stress he endured during his short life. One time, when Kathie was in a coma for 10 days, Bob spent nearly all his waking hours playing music to her until she awoke singing the song “Let Me Be There” along with him. Kathie and Bob were an inspiration to her doctors and nurses. Their story and the topic of how music can play a role in recovery became the subject of interest at a Boston medical conference.
When Bob passed away, Sue felt he would have wanted a scholarship fund established to support someone pursuing their own passion for music. As Sue put it, “His music was his salvation in so many ways, and I know there are so many young people with talent who need a little bit of financial help to get them going.” Bob was a very giving person, always willing to help a friend in need. By establishing this fund with BASAF, Sue continued Bob’s legacy of giving – at a time when her own family continued to face significant challenges.
Kathie passed away in 2001 at the age of 29. Sue continues to reside in the area, as does her oldest daughter Amy.
Awards from this fund are based on student financial need, after which recipients are requested to be those who study and/or participate in music.