ROBERT (BOB) GEORGE GILPIN JR.
WATERBURY / PRINCETON, N.J. – Robert (Bob) George Gilpin Jr., age 87, died on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 in Waterbury, Vt. His children Linda, Beth and Rob were by his side.
Bob was considered one of the 20th century’s most distinguished scholars of international relations. He was described by one colleague as having “little interest in seeking fame and fortune as an academic superstar, [instead] he just wanted to understand.” To many, he was Professor Gilpin — though he far preferred the title “Bob.” A third-generation Vermonter, Bob was at least as proud of his Green Mountain heritage as of his academic accomplishments. A quick-witted storyteller with a mischievous spirit, Bob could be counted on to burst into song, recite poems, or dance whenever the spirit moved him.
Bob attended the University of Vermont, where he met Jean Ann Millis who would become his bride, life partner, co-author, cheerleader, social navigator, true love and source of inspiration in all he did.
After graduation Bob served as an officer in the Navy. He continued on his academic path with master’s and doctoral work at Cornell and UC Berkeley before moving to Princeton in 1962 with Jean and their growing family. Bob joined the Princeton faculty and earned tenure just five years later. A professor of politics and the inaugural holder of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, he was the recipient of numerous fellowships including Guggenheim and Rockefeller.
Several of Bob’s books are considered seminal works in the field. Jean’s inquisitive mind, editorial skills, and master’s degree in international politics made her an ideal writing partner.
After Bob retired from Princeton in 1998, he and Jean moved to Greensboro, Vt., where their greatest joy was in welcoming family and friends. More recently, they made their home in Shelburne, Vt., where Bob continued to follow world affairs, even working on a new book on the Iraq War.
While his scholarship was immensely important to him, the roles that mattered most to Bob were those of teacher, mentor, colleague, friend, father, brother, son, and most important of all, husband. Even after 62 years of marriage, Bob still marveled that he had won the hand of Jean Millis, and was devastated by her death last October.
Bob is survived by his children Linda, Beth and Rob Gilpin and their partners Rick Blake, Mark Powell and Jan Gilpin, as well as grandchildren Jamie Benson, Hazen and Riley Powell, Everett, Jeremy, and Toby Gilpin, and Chase and Chelsea Benson (now Laukaitis). Bob was predeceased by his beloved sister Barbara Schell, but maintained loving relationships with nieces and nephews near and far.
Combined services for Jean and Bob will be held in Vermont later this summer and in Princeton, N.J. this fall. To read the full obituary or leave condolences, please visit facebook.com/Robert.G.Gilpin or perkinsparker.com. Condolences can also be sent c/o Beth Gilpin, 480 Black Bear Hollow, Waterbury, VT 05676. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the University of Vermont General Scholarship Fund.
(A full obituary can be found online at facebook.com/Robert.G.Gilpin or perkinsparker.com.)