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Bath, Maine- RB Omo Jr., 86, died Sunday June 11 at Maine Medical Center. He was born June 23, 1936, in Coldwater Michigan to RB and Mina (Thomas) Omo, and grew up a farm boy in Tekonsha, Michigan. RB graduated from Michigan State University in 1958 and was a life-long Spartans booster. He married his wife of 58 years, Alexandra J. (Hoffman) Omo on New Year’s Eve, 1964. If the Spartans were playing football or basketball, you always knew he and Alex were watching. RB had a long career as a mechanical engineer and is the holder of patents related to industrial machinery. After graduation from MSU he worked for E.W. Bliss in Hastings, Michigan. For several years Alex and RB also owned Omo Farm Supply in Hastings before moving to Bath in 1980 when RB took a job as Chief Design Engineer with Cleveland Punch and Shear, based at Bath Iron Works. RB Worked at BIW through the 80’s before moving to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to take the position of Chief Engineer at Chambersburg Engineering. He and Alex retired back to their beloved Bath in 2010.
RB led a life full of family events, professional involvement, volunteering for things he cared about, and personal projects.
Unless you count his love of jigsaw puzzles, his hobbies were projects that produced something, many of which he actually finished! He and Alex built or renovated somewhere between five and 10 houses, the number is up for debate in the family. The houses they lived in were always under renovation. He enjoyed auctions, Craigslist, Uncle Henry’s, and was an eBay Top Rated Seller. RB really enjoyed bartering and negotiating for the best price: “It never hurts to ask, the worst they can say is no.” He took special joy in getting a bargain on something that others thought was unfixable but was a straightforward repair for him.
Cars. Boy did he love cars. Driving them, working on them, searching for a bargain on them. When he bought a new car, he always got the biggest engine available. He bought one of the first Ford Mustangs ever produced: a 1964 ½ model year red convertible. He ordered it several months before Mustangs were available for purchase (according to the order form: March 14, 1964, from Max Curtis, Inc in Lansing, Michigan). In the early 60’s he drove his 1962 Mercury S-55 from Michigan to Speed Week in Daytona to attend the race, while there he had the car tuned by a NASCAR mechanic. He and a buddy drove cross country on Route 66. In the 80’s he bought a 1968 Jaguar XKE convertible which he enjoyed driving and working on. There were many cars along the way, and he could give you a complete list if asked.
RB was a wealth of knowledge about everything mechanical, everything technical really. Much of his knowledge was solidified by practical hands-on experience, (he was a farm boy after all), he learned by researching and by doing. He was always curious and a great listener. He loved travel and camping and wherever he was he was always learning about the area. With a young family of four boys there were many summer camping trips to see sites and family in different parts of the country. He was also an accomplished slalom water skier and loved building and repairing boats.
Professionally he was a long-time member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and maintained many professional connections (in the days before LinkedIn).
In the 1980’s he served for several years as the President of Morse High School All-Sports Boosters and on the Personnel Service Commission for the City of Bath. He was also an Assistant District Commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America.
After moving back to Bath, he volunteered at Maine’s First Ship for many years, helping to build the Virginia. You always knew where he was on Wednesday and Saturday morning, and if you stopped by, he loved giving a tour of the ship under construction. The pandemic interrupted his work on the Virginia but one of his proudest moments was June 4th, 2022: Launch Day.
He grew up in a large extended farming family surrounded by dozens of cousins. There were regular gatherings for shared farm work and potluck meals. He stayed in touch with many of those cousins through his life and was still a subscriber to the Tekonsha Idea newspaper when he died. He loved family gatherings and updates on family news. He took special joy in listening to his grandchildren describe what was happening in their lives. One of his favorite events was the annual family camping trip at Hermit Island where he was surrounded by multiple generations of bustle and chatter. One of his proudest achievements was this connected family.
RB had one sister, Betty Ann Hendricks (and David Hendricks), who we lost in 2017. He is survived by his wife, Alexandra Omo of Bath, his sons RB Omo III (and Amy) of Marlborough, Massachusetts, James Omo (and Kayla Hoffman) of Bristol, Maine, Andrew Omo (and Dawn) of Bath, Stephen Omo (and Patti, who we lost in 2013) of Bath. He had a range of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and acquired grandchildren all of whom he enjoyed. Grands: Ted Omo (and Katherine Beasley), Nicoletta Suzanne Omo (and Matt Niden), Madison Omo, Jordan Omo, Elizabeth Omo, Allison Omo, Mikayla McFalls, Brook Mitchell, Ben Barrett (and Natalie), Katie Barrett. Great-Grands: Ellinor Niden, Bode Niden, Nora Barrett, Tommy Bendo.
There will be an Open House and Celebration of RB’s Life, on July 8th, from 4:30-7:00 at the Bath Freight Shed. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial donations to Maine’s First Ship.
Or by sending a check to:
Maine’s First Ship
PO Box 231
Bath ME 04530
Maine First Ship
PO Box 231, Bath ME 04530