GILFORD — Bob Wilson, long-time voice of the Boston Bruins, spent a lot of time on Lake Winnipesaukee in his 23-foot Chris Craft ''Big Mouth'' which he kept at Fay's Boatyard in Gilford and is remembered as a friendly and unassuming man by people who knew him in the Lakes Region.
''I used to drive him to the Boston Garden after he had problems with his vision,'' recalls Merrill Fay, owner of Fay's, who said that Wilson was highly regarded by all who knew him.
Wilson, whose name was actually Robert Henry Castellon, died on Jan. 15 at the age of 85 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. A sports broadcasting legend, known as "The Voice of the Bruins," Wilson assumed his mother's maiden name in 1957 in order to have a two syllable name to fit radio station WCOP's jingles. He started broadcasting the Bruins games in 1964 and became play-by-play man in 1967, holding that position until he retired in 1994. For two seasons, 1969-71 he worked for a St. Louis radio station broadcasting the Blues games, including their loss to the Bruins in four straight games for the Stanley Cup in 1970.
His wife, Nancy, whom he married in 1950, says that she and Bob bought a year-round home in Dockham Shore Estates in 1988 and that for the last seven years of his broadcasting career he commuted to Boston to do the Bruins games.
''We absolutely loved it here,'' she said. Both were quietly active in the community and attended the Gilford Community Church and were regulars in Senior Bowling League at Funspot for the last 15 years.
She is still active in the league and says that Bob continued to stick with bowling until almost a month ago despite being legally blind for 10 years due to macular degeneration.
''He had some wonderful teammates. After he rolled the first ball they would tell him that he had the 5, 7 and 10 still standing so he would know where to put his next shot,'' says Nancy.
She says that Wilson continued to use the Castellon name locally, even though people knew him as the Bruins' announcer. ''It was a way of keeping some privacy for our children so that they could live normal lives. He was a great father and great grandfather and always treated people with respect and courtesy,'' she said, noting that for her and her family it is that part of his character which was the most important.
Nancy says that the Dockham Shore area is filled with memories for her and that she and her family had been coming to Gilford and staying summers in that area ever since the late 1930s.
''My family never had a car. They lost a lot of money in the Depression so we would come up the area on the train from Boston. We got off at Weirs Beach and take a water taxi to Dockham Shore or go up to Tarlson's store where we bought groceries and would get a ride to Dockham Shore on the store's delivery truck.''
She recalls walking over to The Weirs from Dockham Shore to go rollerskating and then walking back to the cottage the family had rented. ''We'd walk in the middle of the road sometimes because there was hardly ever any traffic.''
She says that she has fond memories of Sawyer's Dairy Bar as well as the Tamarack Drive-In ''when their lobster rolls were the best in the area.''
Nancy says that Bob was a humble person who took great pride in his work and was overwhelmed with emotion when the Bruins named the home radio booth at TD Garden after him in 2011.
Her son, Bill, who lives in Kittery, Maine, recalls that his dad was active in helping raise funds for the Gilford Skating Rink and following his retirement had an oldies program Sunday nights on radio station WLKZ and even broadcast some Laconia High School football games.
''He always had time for people. He was a very giving person and taught a lot of young broadcasters like Jack Edwards, who does the Bruins games on TV. He idolized my Dad,'' says Bill.
He said that one of the nicest tributes to Wilson came from a granddaughter who wrote on Facebook that he was known to all family members as ''Da'' and ''was the greatest grandfather a girl could ever have.''
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Boston Bruins Foundation (100 Legends Way, Boston, MA 02114) or the Bob Wilson Memorial Scholarship for Communications c/o Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation, PO Box 7312, Gilford, NH 03247-7312.
A celebration of Bob's life will be held at Gilford Community Church, 19 Potter Hill Road, Gilford, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24. A reception will follow the service.