Robert W. Law, 64, of Kellogg Road, Sheffield, died April 1, 2018.
He was born Nov. 1, 1953, in Lindenhurst, Long Island, New York, the son of James G. Law and the late Emily M. Law, who died in 1971.
His family moved to Sheffield when he was at an early age, and owned and operated the Undermountain Orchards in Sheffield and later the Sheffield Flower and Garden Shop. Robert was a graduate of Mount Everett Regional School in Sheffield and of Paul Smith’s College with a degree in hospitality management. His first position after graduation from college was as the assistant operations manager at Jug End Resort in the Berkshires. Within two years, he was elevated to the rank of general manager. An article in the Berkshire Eagle quoted Jug End President Angus McDonald as saying, “He is thought to be, at this time, the youngest person in all of New England to hold such an important position.” He later joined the family business in Sheffield and became the owner of the Sheffield Flower and Garden Shop.
After serving as a member of the school committee for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, representing the town of Sheffield for four terms and being very active on the building committee, which successfully built the then-new facility in Sheffield in the early 1990s, he began working for Southern Berkshire as the events coordinator and the first director of the Consolati Performing Arts Center. He was promoted at Southern Berkshire to the position of director of the performing arts department and community relations liaison, a post he held for 17 years. From 2000 to 2002, he simultaneously was the first manager of the Duffin Theater at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School. He founded the ENCORE Youth Theater Company and the APPLAUSE Youth Theatre Company. Over the span of his career, he worked with several thousand students in grades 3–12 and produced and or directed over 100 plays and musicals.
In 2003 he was the first educator in Massachusetts to be awarded the Visionary Award as part of the Peace Awards, given by the Massachusetts Rural Domestic Violence and Child Victimization Project by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for promoting “Non Violence and Healthy Conflict Resolution” in his theater work with students.
Robert was instrumental in the birth of the Barrington Stage Company and its award winning Playwright Mentoring Program. When the theater group was first organized, it used the Consolati Performing Arts Center for over 10 years on the campus of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District in Sheffield.
While at Southern Berkshire, he worked closely with other arts organizations, helping to place students in internships and summer employment. He served as the faculty liaison with the Boston Symphony Orchestra D.A.R.T.S. program, the Anne Levinson Fund for free student trips to Broadway shows and the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, and the Chester Theatre Company.
In more recent years, Robert worked in retail at both the Chef Shop in Great Barrington and Hugo Boss in Lee. He then took over the role of daytime companion and caretaker of his elderly father and also volunteered for the Sheffield Food Pantry. In 2017 Bob was proudly re-elected to the school committee for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District and was appointed to several subcommittees. He worked tirelessly as an advocate for students and quality educational programs.
Bob was a true gentleman and a kind soul. He believed that, no matter a person’s background, skin color, ethnicity, orientation or social status, one should be treated with compassion and respect. He went out of his way to spread love and care in the world and he was unwavering in his beliefs. The lives he touched were many, and the lessons he taught by example should be a model for the world.
Robert is survived by his father, James G. Law of Canaan, Connecticut; his brother James and wife Susan Law of Sheffield; his sister Linda and husband David Peppe of Canaan, Connecticut; and several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his beloved children: Emily N. Law and partner Justin Grahn of New Marlborough; and his son, Robert J. Law, and wife Phyllis of Peabody, Massachusetts; as well as four grandchildren: Alissa Rathbun, Annabelle, Taylor and Claire Law.
A service of thanksgiving for the life of Robert W. Law will be held Saturday, April 7, at 11 a.m. at Old Parish Church in Sheffield, conducted by Rev. Jill Graham, pastor. The family will receive friends Thursday, April 5, from 4 to 7 p.m. at FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME in Great Barrington. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Aurigan Scholarship Fund for the establishment of the Robert W. Law Memorial Scholarship for a deserving graduating senior from Mount Everett who has exhibited a commitment to and excellence in the theatre program in care of FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. To send remembrances to the family, visit http://www.finnertyandstevens.com.