Gray - Robert B. Kraus, 72, passed away at home on January 1, 2019, of kidney failure. He was born on March 27, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Leon J. Kraus and Theresa (Levine) Kraus. (His mother claims to have introduced Sandy Koufax's parents to each other). Though he always clung to the mystique of his Brooklyn birth, Robert was transported to the suburbs of Long Island at the age of seven. He devoted his youth to minor and mostly harmless acts of juvenile delinquency and still found time to become a skilled (self-taught) folk guitar player. He graduated from East Meadow High School in 1964.
He attended Southampton College of Long Island University for two years, honing his (self-taught) photography and writing skills. He was a master of satire--see the April Fools edition of the great newspaper The Windmill. At Southampton he also met Barbara Gauditz, who he married in 1968. Robert and Barbara always took the slow and scenic route, so he left Southampton and after a brief hiatus where he helped establish Barbara in an apartment in Manhattan's East Village, he enrolled in Canaan College, in New Hampshire where more writing, more photography, and the acquisition of a taste for country living followed, as did a Bachelor’s degree in January 1972.
After a cross-country road trip, his 1967 VW blew its engine, leading Robert to teach himself auto mechanics by rebuilding the engine. (Are we beginning to see a pattern here?) In July of 1972 they moved to Maine, where Barbara unsuccessfully attempted graduate school. Robert picked up on his auto repair skills, eventually establishing an independent business at the Kraus Auto Haus in Orrington, while living in Lucerne-in-Maine.
Still searching for his true calling, in 1982 he enrolled in Beal College's paralegal program. Legal research and writing proved to be a natural fit, but not in a way that made him employable in the law firm culture. In 1984 Robert and Barbara moved to the Portland area (again chasing Barbara's educational dreams, this time of Law School). Always a free lance, he enjoyed working with independent attorneys or small firms. For many years he was headquartered at Childs, Emerson, Rundlett, Fifield and Childs (and its latter incarnations).
He developed a special interest in and affinity for probate proceedings, and assisted three successive Cumberland County Probate judges (Dana Childs, William Childs, and Joseph Mazziotti with whom became good friends.) with researching case law and drafting opinions. He had a gentle presence, a keen eye, and a powerful intellect.
Along the way there was one last skill to attempt mastery at--the classical vioiin. He took lessons for a year or so, then decided he could teach himself the rest. He plunged right in with the Bach Chaconne, one of the most difficult pieces in the literature. It never sounded really great, but he enjoyed the effort. He could play simpler things, like Amazing Grace for when grace was called for, and the Kol Nidre every Yom Kippur. He drifted away from the violin, but it was his last great love.
Robert is survived by his wife of 50 years, Barbara Gauditz, brother Howard of ElCerrito, CA, a nephew, a niece, and four great-nephews, his cat Sebastian, and also by two biological daughters, who through the wonders of adoption reunion, found him and Barbara 20 or so years ago. JoAnne and Katie have added a whole new level of family to his life, and were very dear to him.
No services are planned at this time. Memorial contributions to the Homeless Animal Rescue Team would be appreciated. To view Robert's guestbook or leave the family an online condolence, please visit www.athutchins.com.