Robert Armand Payheur, 92, passed away peacefully on Friday June 10, 2022.

Robert was born on January 11, 1930 in Biddeford, son of Rudolph and Lucienne Payheur. Born in a rural environment and the only son of six children, young Bob was a boy of the land. When he wasn’t chopping wood, milking the family cow, or tending to the family’s many outdoor chores, he worked at his grandfather’s nearby sawmill.

During the winters, he worked at his grandfather’s cooler, helping to cut and move slabs of ice, then delivering it to homes for customers’ coolers. At age 17, anxious to help his comrades in Maine during the great fires of 1947, he joined the Maine National Guard. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and served in the Guard for 13 years.

On October 29, 1949, Robert married Rita Desrosiers. Together they raised two children. Robert began his career as a plumber’s helper, then became an apprentice and then a journeyman plumber. When he got certified and licensed as a master plumber, he was the youngest in the state of Maine. Robert had his own plumbing business during his 20s.

Robert was then hired by Portsmouth Dockyard in 1958 as a pipefitter on nuclear submarines. He narrowly escaped aboard for the dive test of the ill-fated USS Thresher out of Portsmouth Naval Dockyard on April 10, 1963 – the deadliest peacetime submarine disaster in US history. The atomic submarine collapsed on Atlantic soil when it plunged too deep into depths too deep for the ship, killing 129 people, including civilians from Portsmouth Dockyard. Robert had been enthusiastically invited to participate in this dive test and had providentially declined. During his 28-year career at Portsmouth Dockyard, he became Chief Foreman of the Nuclear Plumbing/Heating Division.

Known to everyone as Bob, he had a terrific sense of humor and loved to laugh. His favorite job was lumberjack. He loved walking in the forest with his dogs, cutting down trees on his hundred-acre property – for eventual use as lumber for the construction of the house. Robert was also a jack of all trades. Not only a licensed plumber and oil burner expert, he also did very skilled work as a carpenter, mason, electrician, roofer, etc.

He has completely built every aspect of the large ranch house that is the family home, by himself, section by section over the years.

Robert is survived by his wife Rita of 72 years and two daughters: Ruthie Payheur of Biddeford and Constance Payheur of Saco. Robert is preceded in death by all his brothers and sisters, except for one sister, Claire Mondville.

A funeral service open to all will be held for Mr. Payheur at St. Joseph Cemetery on West Street in Biddeford. The date and time of the funeral service are not available at the time of this printing. Please contact Hope Memorial Chapel of Biddeford (282-6300) for service date and time.

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