Robert F. Gathman


Robert F. Gathman (Bob) of Totowa, NJ, formerly of Paramus, NJ, passed away on April 21, 2019.  He was born in Prospect Park, NJ on Oct. 22, 1921, the son of Martha Gosman Gathman and William Gathman.  He was preceded in death by his dearly beloved wife, Antoinette Gathman, his sister, Dorothy E. Djuren, and his brother, David W. Gathman. He is survived by devoted daughters Jeanne Gathman and Nancy Glime (Fred), grandchildren Chris Glime (Mary Kate), Lauren Wilson, (Jim), and great grandchildren Natalie Glime, and Turner and Everett Wilson.  A decorated Army veteran of WWII, Bob served in seven major battles and received four medals.  After his honorable discharge in 1945, Bob worked as a linotype operator at several newspapers for many years.  In 1977, he and his wife, Antoinette, co-founded The Speak Easy International Foundation, a Self-Help Mutual Aid Group for People Who Stutter.  Antoinette was named Co-Founder; Bob was named Founder-President.

In 1983, Bob received a B.A. Degree in Humanities from Thomas A. Edison College.  In 1987, he received an M.A. in Communication Sciences & Disorders from Montclair State University.  Bob received the Outstanding Adult Student and Lifelong Learner Award, the MSU Alumni Association Award as founder of Speak Easy, and along with his wife, the President’s Volunteer Action Award Citation signed by President Ronald Reagan for their work with Speak Easy.  Upon receiving his Certification of Speech Language Specialist, Bob worked as a speech-language specialist until his retirement in 1998.  He and his wife planned and organized 23 Annual Speak Easy Symposia through 2003.  Bob carried on following her passing until 2014.  He was also an accomplished writer, writing many articles well into his nineties for the Speak Easy Newsletter, which was published quarterly. 

Bob was a long-time member of the Fair Lawn Bible Church, where he was a trustee for several years. He was also an accomplished trumpet player, well known for his solo work in several area churches, and in in New York.  In past years he played with the German M.E. Church Temple Orchestra, Junior Symphony Orchestra of Paterson, Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, and the Rutherford Community Band.  He was President and Senior Member of the Hawthorne, NJ Fireman’s Marching/Concert Band which he joined in 1941.  In 2010, he received a lifetime achievement award for outstanding and dedicated service to the band.  On his 95th birthday in 2016, Bob received a pin for 75 years of membership with the Hawthorne Band.  

The family will receive relatives and friends on Saturday, April 27, from 10-11 a.m. with an 11:00 a.m. service at the Vander Plaat-Caggiano Funeral Home, 13-31 Saddle River Road, Fair Lawn, NJ. Interment will follow at George Washington Memorial Park, 234 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Robert Gathman to The Association of Concert Bands, 6613 Cheryl Ann Drive, Independence, OH 14131 or

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Dear Jeanne, We are so terribly sorry to hear about your dad. We tried to get to the funeral but we could not get a ride, and cannot drive for medical reasons which you know about. You are a very dear friend. We want you to know that our home is always open to you, and we want you to call if we can help in any way. You and your family are extremely good hearted Christian people. May the Lord comfort you now and always. All Our Love, Bill, Joanie, $ Maureen
Joanie, Bill, and Maureen Busund
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