Obituary of Wanda M. Robertson

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Wanda M. Robertson

May 13, 1964 - August 17, 2014

Wanda M. Robertson SOUTH BERWICK – Wanda M. Robertson Esq., 50, of Tamarack Drive, died Sunday, August 17, 2014, at her home.

She was born May 13, 1964, in Woburn, Mass., the daughter of Roy and Irene (Deshane) Castine.

Wanda worked for many years as an attorney directly under Mark Gearreald for the Town of Hampton. .

She was predeceased by her parents.

Wanda is survived by her husband James Robertson Jr., of South Berwick; a son James Robertson III, of South Berwick; a daughter Cassie Robertson, of South Berwick; six brothers and sisters; mother-in-law Kathy Sampson and her husband, Al; and her very special dogs Jabber and KK.

She was a passionate gardener, dedicated mother and devoted wife. Although she leaves behind heavy hearts, she wants us all to smile and remember how she touched our lives.

Hampton mourns Wanda Robertson

Assistant town attorney's death leaves Town Hall in 'state of shock'

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union , August 22, 2014

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Wanda M. Robertson HAMPTON — Town employees say they haven't been able to "go a day without walking around" Town Hall "and finding someone in tears" since the sudden passing of Assistant Town Attorney Wanda Robertson.

Robertson, 50, a longtime member of the town's legal department, passed away in her sleep for unknown reasons Sunday. Her friends and colleagues say Town Hall has since been in a "state of shock" because she was a "well-liked" person who "was always very positive and upbeat."

"It's been pretty rough," said Finance Director Kristi Pulliam. "It's one of those unbelievable things that (makes) everyone just kind of walk around shaking their head. No one wanted to come to work Monday morning because most of us knew by then."

Robertson began in Hampton as the town's first in-house legal assistant in January 2003. The town paid for her to attend law school at night, eventually hiring her as assistant town attorney after she passed the Massachusetts bar in 2009 and the New Hampshire bar in 2011.

Robertson, a Woburn, Mass., native who started in Hampton on the same day as Town Attorney Mark Gearreald, "always had a smile on her face," was "always there for whatever you needed" and "always had your back," according to Pulliam.

Numerous other messages of love have been tearfully scribed on a large foam board at Town Hall. Friends and co-workers have also attached photos of Robertson and items that conjure fond memories of her time with the town.

"She was wonderful to work with," said Pulliam. "I never heard her say anything negative about anyone."

Town Manager Fred Welch said Robertson was a "key player in the system," as she also served as the town's human resources coordinator. He also said she was "appreciated by everyone who works here."

"It's all very sudden," Welch said. "It's all unexpected. We were all with her (last) Friday here at work. Nothing appeared to be wrong, and there was nothing (anyone) knew was wrong."

Gearreald forged a particularly close relationship with Robertson over the years, according to Welch.

Gearreald wasn't available for comment because he was helping Robertson's family coordinate Robertson's funeral arrangements and other matters.

"He's been very busy doing long hours of labor trying to help," Welch said.

Numerous past and present town employees and friends have posted heartfelt messages on Robertson's tribute page since her passing.

"Wanda was a great addition to the Town of Hampton family from the day she came to the attorney's office," wrote former Town Manager James Barrington. "She offered thoughtful insights and had a great smile for everyone. She stayed in touch after I left Hampton for Texas, and I always enjoyed her news and her observations. She had just told me of the sudden passing of Kathy Wright, so the news of Wanda's departure from this life was especially shocking."

Recreation Director Dyana Martin was one of many who forged a close relationship with Robertson over the years while working with her on the second floor of Town Hall.

"I have not been able to write until today, as I could not find the words and I am still in disbelief that I will not be seeing her again when I walk past her office," wrote Martin on Robertson's tribute page Wednesday. "I already miss her as she was not only a co-worker but also a friend."

Visitation hours were held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Tasker Funeral Home in Dover. Welch said Robertson's burial service will be private.

Robertson's obituary states she has a husband and two children, and "Although she leaves behind heavy hearts, she wants us all to smile and remember how she touched our lives."

Pulliam said the town will continue collecting signatures on the board, which will eventually be given to Robertson's family.

Welch said selectmen will make a determination at a future date about the assistant town attorney position and whether the town will hire outside counsel to help oversee the "number of cases" Robertson was handling and prosecuting.

Brain aneurysm caused Hampton assistant town attorney's death

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union , August 26, 2014

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Wanda M. RobertsonHAMPTON — Assistant Town Attorney Wanda Robertson, whose death at age 50 on Aug. 17 left Town Hall in a state of shock, is said to have died from a brain aneurysm.

Town Attorney Mark Gearreald spoke out during Monday's selectmen meeting in honor of his friend and co-worker of the last 12 years.

“For most of last week for those of us who worked in this building and elsewhere in town have struggled to understand the reason for the sudden and unexpected death in her sleep of a healthy Wanda Robertson,” Gearreald said. “Now we know that she died of a brain aneurysm and that Wanda would not have suffered for long.”

Family, friends and coworkers said their final goodbye to Robertson during a memorial service held last week.

Gearreald said that Robertson was a “pillar of strong support” for her husband and two children, 23 and 26.

He also said that Robertson proved that it was never too late to follow your dreams.
Becoming an attorney, Gearreald said, was a “lifelong held dream” for Robertson.

Robertson started her pursuit at the age of 35, receiving her paralegal certificate with honors from McIntosh College, and followed that three years later with receiving her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Southern Maine in 2002.

While employed as para legal with the town, Gearreald said Robertson worked during the day — and with town's financial support — attended law school at night, finally graduating in 2008 at the age of 44.

After passing both the Massachusetts and New Hampshire bar, Robertson was appointed assistant town attorney and then given the added responsibility as the town's human resources coordinator.

Gearreald said Robertson stood for loyalty.

“People wondered if after she got her law degree would she simply go elsewhere,” said Gearreald said. “Six years later we know the answer.”

Gearreald said Robertson was “making great strides” in her duel career with the town.” She won “significant' court victories in planning and zoning matters and saved the town “at least $100,000” for not having to rely on outside counsel for labor matters.

But, he said, her life was much more than that as evidenced by the words used to describe her by friends and family.

Words like “caring, cheerful, warm spirt, enthusiasm, sense of humor, kindness, a delight to work with, a real team player, spirit of cooperation, valuable community member.”

“Wanda's life here touched so many,” Gearreald said. “I am honored to say I was her mentor and friend.”

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