Robert Draper Stratton, 92

Thu, 01/14/2021 - 6:00pm

Robert Draper Stratton, age 92, passed peacefully from natural causes on December 23, 2020, surrounded by his wife Carolyn Cushman Stratton and their two living children, Susan Stratton Pruitt and Robert Pembroke Stratton. A third child, Catharine Ranney Stratton, predeceased him.

Bob was born on November 2, 1928 in Philadelphia, PA to Leslie Pembroke Stratton and Eleanor Speakman Stratton. He graduated from Woodberry Forest High School (1946), University of Virginia (BA 1950), and New York University (MBA 1957). He served active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1950 to 1954. While finishing his MBA he was recruited by international conglomerate WR Grace to work with their operations in Latin America. At the same time, he met his future wife Carolyn Cushman and they were married in Hartland-Four-Corners, Vermont on June 9, 1956.

Thus began his many adventures living abroad, raising a family and running a series of businesses, mostly in the paper industry, in many countries around the world. First were 10 years in South America, where children Cate, Bob Jr, and Susan were born. Then back to the U.S. for two years in New Jersey and three years in New York City. After that came six years in Bangkok, Thailand (1970- 1976) as Managing Director of Siam Kraft Paper Co., followed by two- to three-year postings running paper mills in Lagos, Nigeria (1977-1979), Guatemala (1979-1980), Vancouver, Canada (1980-1982) and the Philippines (1982-1985). In 1985, Bob and Carol retired to Vermont where he continued pursuing his life-long passions for astronomy, art, photography, world affairs, travel, and sailing. From here they led numerous cultural trips around the world with a group of adventurous friends, often to the places where they had lived. In 2017 they moved to the independent living facility The Woodlands in Lebanon, N.H., and finally there was the cross-country move to daughter Susan’s home in LA, where Bob spent his last eight months.

Bob loved Block Island, first visiting on an extended family vacation in 1966, just after moving back to the U.S. Carol’s father Robert Cushman and Cali Bliss Cushman bought a large parcel of land off Lakeside Drive and gave several lots to Bob and Carol to build on. In 1969, they brought a rag-tag group of architecture students up from Columbia University (many of whom became life-long friends) to build the Domes from a kit based on a design by visionary architect Buckminster Fuller. The Stratton family spent countless summers enjoying the Domes and their second home on the lot next to it. Bob and Carol hosted friends and extended family from all over the world, enjoying sunsets, beach fires and cookouts, bodysurfing, horseback riding, sailing, and hiking on Block Island’s many nature trails. Bob’s son Bob Jr. and his wife, Sandra, took over the Domes in 2005 and are now extensively renovating them on their 50th anniversary.

In addition to Carol and his children, Bob is survived by six grandchildren (Lucas Ruiz, Willy Ruiz, Will Pruitt, Jackson Pruitt, Fia Stratton, and Vin Stratton) and one newly arrived great-grandchild (Ronan Stratton Ruiz).