Robert F. Mooney, of Nantucket, attorney, author and historian, died on April 4, 2016.
Mr. Mooney was born on Nantucket on February 16, 1931, son of Chief of Police Lawrence F. Mooney, Jr. and Ethel L. Mooney. His great-grandparents, Robert C. and Julia Mooney, were survivors of the immigrant ship, British Queen, which was wrecked off Nantucket in 1851, while carrying a load of Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine from Dublin to New York. He grew up on the Mooney Farm (now Slosek’s) on Polpis Road before his family moved to West Chester Street.
Mr. Mooney was a graduate of Nantucket High School in 1948, and Holy Cross College in 1952, majoring in political science. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving three years as First Lieutenant of the destroyer USS Lowry (DD-770) during the Korean War, and made a round-the-world cruise in 1954. After his service in the Navy, Bob attended Harvard Law School, graduating with honors in 1958. He was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature at the age of 25 (while in his second year in law school), and served three terms as Nantucket’s state representative, retiring in 1962. Bob was the youngest state representative at the time, and while serving in the House his achievements included the first state-funded bike path, on Milestone Road, changing the route of the Steamship Authority vessels serving Nantucket and getting the Sheep Commons Bill passed, by which the Town gained controlling interest in several areas of beach land, proprietors roads, great ponds and the lands beneath them. He practiced law in Boston and Nantucket, served as Town prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney for twelve years and completed fifty years at the Massachusetts Bar Association in 2008.
In 1965 Bob married Elizabeth (Betty) Bowker and together they raised three sons, Robert L. Mooney, Daniel T. Mooney and Michael C. Mooney. He was predeceased by his wife in 2006 and his son Michael in 2012.
During his later years, Bob devoted his time to research, writing and charitable activities. He wrote more than seven books and many articles on Nantucket history. He served for ten years as a trustee of the Nantucket Atheneum, seven as president and chairman of the restoration and expansion campaign, and was named President Emeritus after stepping down from the board. He was appointed as Nantucket’s first representative of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners by former Gov. Paul Cellucci. Bob was honored with Nantucket’s Brightest Light Award of 1996 and Senior Citizen of the Year in 2008. He was an advisor to the Nantucket Historical Association, an original incorporator the Nantucket Shipwreck and Life Saving Museum, a founding trustee of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, president of the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club and a founding father of the Steamship Authority. He was also a member of the Nantucket Zoning Board of Appeals, including time as chairman. He will be remembered for his donations of land for conservation purposes, and for his works on Nantucket history.
Mr. Mooney is survived by his son Rob and daughter-in-law Erika; his son Danny and daughter-in-law Anna; and, grandchildren Robert Gannon Mooney and Marin Sophia Mooney. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bob’s memory to the Nantucket Atheneum, Nantucket Boys and Girls Club, or the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.