Robert Martin Visny
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Robert “Bob” Martin Visny, 89, of Coventry, passed away peacefully Saturday, November 7, 2020 surrounded by family. He was the beloved husband of the late Wilma (Scott) Visny who passed away in 2014.
Born at Manchester Hospital on July 22, 1931, the son of the late John Martin and Lena (Goehring) Visny, Bob grew up on his family’s Coventry dairy farm. He is survived by his daughter Martine Lehmann and her husband, Prescott, grandsons Joshua Lehmann and (Kellyann Cox), Scott Visny his wife Lisa, granddaughters Stephanie, Kelly, Amanda, and great-grandchildren Morgan, Jacob, Jasmine, Brianna, Ava Aden and Zander. He was predeceased by his son, Steven, and sisters Elizabeth and Clara.
Bob attended a one-room schoolhouse in his youth and was a member of the last class to graduate from the Brick School in 1945. After graduating from Manchester High School in 1949, he attended Marietta College in Ohio and UCONN, where he earned a degree in agriculture. He would later earn a Masters and 6th year certificate at Eastern State College. In 1952 he married the love of his life, Wilma, a kindred spirit who shared his love of family, nature, and life-long learning.
A beloved educator who forged lasting friendships with hundreds of students, Bob taught sixth grade for 32 years at the Washington and Verplanck Schools in Manchester. In 1960 Bob and Wilma purchased fifty acres in Coventry, the site of the Hickory Ridge Tree Farm. For years Bob bounded across the hillside in December, welcoming customers, many his former students, and counseling them as they searched for the perfect Christmas tree. A visit to Hickory Ridge is a lasting holiday memory for hundreds of loyal families and friends.
A life-long learner, Bob enjoyed learning about American and Native American history. Bob and Wilma participated in Elderhostel programs including the Lewis and Clarke Expedition from Saint Louis, MO to Astoria, OR. They served as tutors at a Navajo Reservation School in Mexican Hat, Utah. They enjoyed trips to Sebago Lake Maine, Martha’s Vineyard, and Bermuda.
Bob had a keen sense of civic duty. He served in numerous roles for the Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association, Connecticut Forest and Parks Association, and Project Learning Tree. He was a member of the Eastern CT Forest Land Owners Assoc., Last Green Valley, and the Coventry Agriculture Committee.
Bob was a member of the North Coventry Volunteer Fire Association for 50 years, Historical Society, Center Cemetery Association, American Legion, and the Uriel Lodge No. 24 AF & AM. He was a 75-year member of the Second Congregation Church.
A natural storyteller with a prodigious memory, Bob loved to regale listeners with his memories of a long-ago Coventry, many of which were published including: “B-17 Bomber Buzzes Brick School”, “Something Burning: North Coventry Volunteer Fire Department Responds to First House Fire”, Santa’s Boots” and “The Story of Coventry’s Last Cattle Drive.”
Bob’s high school motto, “Always ready with a smile, quick to do a thing worthwhile” was true of him his entire life. A generous and thoughtful man, he leaves a legacy of kindness and service to others. He will be greatly missed by family, friends, and former students.
The Visny family would like to thank Dr. Katz and his staff Janet and Chris, Dr. Khanna and Dr. Bandyopadhyay for the excellent care they provided to Bob.
Donations in Bob’s memory can be made to: North Coventry Volunteer Fire Department (3427 Main Street, Coventry, CT 06238), Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association (304 Parker Ave. Meriden, CT 06450) or the Second Congregational Church (1746 Boston Turnpike, Coventry, CT 06238).
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, services will be private. The family hopes to honor Bob’s memory at a future date when conditions permit.