ROLL OF HONOR – Fall 2015

Coach Bob Priestley with goaltender Bruce Gillies ’57.

Coach Bob Priestley with goaltender Bruce Gillies ’57. (NU Archives / photo by George Burnham.)

In Memoriam:
Robert B. Priestley – Longtime NU Coach and Athletics Director

January 5, 1920 – May 20, 2015

Born into a large, athletic family (his father played football at Colby), Bob Priestley and his three brothers were three-sport varsity standouts at Melrose (Mass.) High School (MHS). All four went on to compete at top-level college football and hockey programs.

After graduating from MHS in 1938, Bob entered Brown, where he distinguished himself on the gridiron as a solid two-way performer, earning Honorable Mention All-America and first team All-New England honors.

Concerned he might be called into service before finishing his degree, Bob received a 1-A temporary classification from the Selective Service and graduated in 1942. That same year he signed with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, playing in 9 (out of a total 11) games at end for Greasy Neale.

Stationed in Europe during WWII, Bob served as an infantry officer in the 90th United States Army Air Force bombardment group (heavy), earning six battle stars. After his honorable discharge, he became assistant coach of football and hockey at Brown (1947–51). In Bob’s last year behind the Bears bench, Brown lost to Michigan in the NCAA finals.

In 1951, Bob started a 29-year career at Norwich. Although he coached five different varsity sports and served as director of athletics, it was in Taylor Arena that he left his most indelible mark. Under Coach Priestley’s mentorship, Norwich hockey dominated the opposition, winning more games (291) than any other Division II team. He was named Associated Press Coach-of-the-Year in 1951–52 and 1952–53, and Small College Coach-of-the-Year in 1964–65. In the 1978–79 season, his last behind the Cadets bench, his team notched a record 19 victories.

A former president of the American Hockey Coaches Association and the ECAC Hockey Association, Bob was a member of the committee that selected the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won gold at Lake Placid. That same year he received the coveted Schaeffer Pen Award for outstanding contributions to intercollegiate ice hockey.

In 1984, Bob became an honorary member of the Norwich Athletic Hall of Fame, the first non-graduate to be inducted. He is also a member of the MHS and Brown University Athletic Halls of Fame.

A full obituary can be found at

Your memories of Coach Priestley:

“He left an indelible mark [on many in our class]. When he starts a hockey team at his new location, our class has given him a great first line of Kennedy, Coe, and Skinner.”

– Brendan O. Cleary ’63

“Coach Priestley is the foundation of the great Norwich hockey tradition.”

– NU Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Mike McShane

“Bob preached that every day was a new day and an opportunity to work hard and improve. He was ever the teacher who made us overachievers.”

– Allen Doyle ’71

“For those of us who played hockey or football, our common thread was Coach Bob Priestley. We were treated equally and disciplined when our actions required it. … [Hockey] scrimmages weren’t over ‘til Coach scored one.”

– Ken “Hound Dog” Howard ’65

“He was loved by all his players and was a great friend and mentor to me. I will always remember his sense of humor, integrity, and intelligence. He is a Norwich legend that helped make Norwich the great institution it is today.”

– NU Athletics Director, Tony Mariano M’75

Send your memories of Coach Priestley to

Roll of Honor

The following reflect death notifications received by the University through July 15, 2015. Full obituaries, when available, can be accessed online at

1941 LTC John Nazzaro, USA (Ret.), 97, of Medford, Mass., 5/4/2015
1944 Dr. Charles “Chuck” F. Miller, 92, of Phoenixville, Pa., 4/16/2015
1946 Mary C. Daley, 90, of Rutland, Vt., widow of John Daley ’46 and mother of James Daley ’79, 5/11/2015
1946 Alan L. Lewis, 88, of Poultney, Vt., 8/6/2013
1947 Benjamin F. Schweyer, 89, of Shelburne, Vt., 4/21/2015
1948 The Honorable Samuel Freed, 88, of West Hartford, Conn., 5/17/2015
1950 Shirley M. Grieve, 90, of Charlton, Mass., wife of Robert Grieve ’50, 7/18/2014
1950 Nancy A. Luce, of Tampa, Fla., wife of John W. Luce ’50, 12/2/2012
1951 Allan Robb, 85, of Capitola, Calif., 5/3/2015
1951 Richard M. Wilkins, 85, of Old Lyme, Conn., 8/12/2014
1951 Raymond J. Bowen, 85, of Contoocook, N.H., 6/19/2015
1953 COL Benjamin J. Basil, USA (Ret.), 84, of Columbia, S.C., 7/5/2015
1953 Dr. Ronald S. Bartlett, 83, of Christi/Alamo, Texas, 7/6/2015
1953 Gretchen T. Kingman, 83, of Foxboro, Mass., widow of Philip Kingman ’53 and mother of William Kingman ’80, 5/8/2015
1953 Henry E. Lowther Sr., 83, of Nashua, N.H., 7/1/2015
1954 (VC) Dorothy D. Argiroff, 81, of West Caldwell, N.J., 5/6/2015
1955 James A. Dietrich, 81, of Exeter Township, Pa., 5/2/2015
1955 LTC Stephen Waterman III, USA (Ret.), 82, of Wolfeboro, N.H., 6/8/2015
1956 Franklin L. Kundahl, 80, of Palm City, Fla., 5/13/2015
1956 Ezekiel R. Peach, 81, of Marblehead, Mass., 6/20/2015
1956 Grant L. Mitchell, 80, of Springfield, Mass., 6/6/2015
1956 John B. Lovis, 80, of Emmaus, Pa., 6/20/2015
1957 Langdon S. Cummings, Jr., 80, of Homosassa, Fla., 6/14/2015
1958 Carl G. “Bud” Hooper, 79, of Ocala, Fla., 6/2/2015
1958 Gary E. Vaughn, 79, of Jericho, Vt., 6/23/2015
1959 Page Morrison, 80, of Newport News, Va., wife of LTC Robert C. Morrison, USA (Ret.) ’59, 4/18/2015
1960 (VC) Mary J. Mac Farlane, 75, of Burnt Hills, N.Y., 5/25/2015
1961 John H. Holleran, 77, of Wells, Maine, 7/11/2015
1963 Peter Sivonen, 73, of Sun Lakes, Ariz., 4/27/2015
1965 Jacqui T. Bailey, 70, of Ipswich, Mass., wife of Larry Bailey ’65, 6/8/2015
1966 Robert B. Reed, of Marion, Mass., 8/23/2001
1966 Thomas P. Hodge, 68, of Brookline, Mass., 5/13/2013
1967 Alexis B. Zavoico, 70, of Asheville, N.C., 4/24/2015
1971 Amelia “Amy” Leach, of Endicott, N.Y., wife of Brian H. Leach ’71, 8/21/2015
1973 Melanie Marenna, 55, of Bel Air, Md., wife of Gary Marenna ’73 and mother of “A.J.” Marenna ’13, 6/29/2015
1975 MAJ Richard J. Ralphs, USAF (Ret.), 61, of West Columnia, S.C., 3/15/2015
1976 (VC) Nancy Pelletier (Jennings), 58, of Salem, Mass., 4/14/2015
1984 (VC) Ronald O. Wheeler, 83, of Barre Town, Vt., 5/27/2015
1987 Barbara M. Fagan, 85, of Norwell, Mass., mother of Jim Fagan ’87, 5/10/2015
1988 John R. McDonough, 50, of Quincy, Mass., 4/27/2015
1989 (VC) Shirley P. Vincenty, 81, of Marietta, Ga., 2/22/2015
1992 (VC) Louise M. Sandberg, 76, of Corrinth, Vt., 5/12/2015
1994 (VC) JoAnn Freed Chavre, 83, of Salt Lake City, Utah, 5/8/2015
1995 Edward Trudell, 42, of Mansfield, Mass., 12/5/2014
1997 (VC) Brenda Smart, 50, of Cary, N.C., 9/25/2003
2000 (VC) Phyllis C. Martin, 64, of East Montpelier, Vt., 7/10/2015
2001 (VC) Roxanne Benson, 43, of Chelsea, Vt., 5/1/2015
Van N. Martin, 62, of Northfield, Vt., former Army ROTC faculty, 4/11/2015
Robert B. Priestley, 95, of Sandwich, Mass., former Athletics staff, 5/20/2015
Arthur T. Thompson, 96, of Newton, formerly of Wellesley, Mass., trustee emeritus, 5/9/2015
Henriette “Henny” H. Goodman, 83, of Northfield, Vt., former staff, 5/26/2015
Virginia B. Moran, 93, of Bridgton, Maine, friend of the University, 7/7/2015

To inform the University of the passing of a member of the Norwich family, please contact the Alumni Office at (802) 485-2100 or

Comments are closed.