|Birth: ||Mar. 15, 1935|
|Death: ||Jun. 19, 2010|
Humanitarian. Dogs and dog training were always in Roberta Kaman's life. As she recently said in "Trust the Dog," the new book about Fidelco, "I've never been without a dog." From the dogs on her grandfather's farm, to the dogs her father trained for hunting, to the thousands of dogs she bred for Fidelco, canines were an important part of her life. Roberta was bitten by the training bug early on when she attended a dog training class in Manchester, Connecticut. She proved to be a natural trainer and the town asked her to stay on and help with the classes.
Over the years, Roberta and her friends raised and showed several breeds, including standard poodles. She also spent time mentoring with Dr. Allen Leventhal at his veterinarian practice in Bolton. It was in 1958 that she got her first German shepherd; sowing the seeds for what would become a lifelong fascination with this extraordinary breed of dog.
In 1960, Roberta joined a local German shepherd club in New Haven and met Charlie Kaman, her future husband and founder of Kaman Aerospace. Together, they helped form the Fidelco Breeders Cooperative, the beginnings of what is now the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. For 20 years, the cooperative bred German shepherd dogs and donated them to guide dog schools and law enforcement.
From 1980, their home-based hobby grew dramatically to become an internationally accredited guide dog foundation that has placed more than 1,300 guide dogs with blind and visually disabled clients throughout the United States and Canada. In the process, Roberta was instrumental in developing the Fidelco "breed within a breed;" a German shepherd with the temperament, work ethic and stamina suited to guiding people who are blind.
Roberta received numerous awards, including the prestigious Migel Medal Award from the American Foundation for the Blind and was honored as a Melvin Jones Fellow, the Lions Club's highest level of recognition. She was also a certified sheep tending shepherd and has trained in the United States and Germany.
Roberta "Robbie" Kaman, passed peacefully in her sleep after a short illness on Saturday (June 19, 2010). She is survived by her loving husband of 40 years, Charles H. Kaman, aviation pioneer and founder of Kaman Corp. of Bloomfield, CT. Roberta, a longtime resident of Farmington, CT was born in Willimantic, CT; the daughter of the late George Hallock and Loretta (Bunnell) Hallock. Roberta and Charles H. Kaman, her husband, founded The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in 1960. For more than 20 years, the Foundation bred German shepherd dogs and donated them to guide dog schools and law enforcement organizations across the country. In 1981, Fidelco expanded its program to include training and placement of their guide dogs. It remains New Englands only guide dog organization and serves clients throughout North America. In addition to her husband, she is survived by three step-children, Bill Kaman, Bean Kaman-Wood and Steve Kaman; four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Roxanne St. Marie; two brothers, Robert Hallock and John Calkins; several nieces and nephews; as well as many dear friends, to mention only a few, Jody Potter, Pat Feeley and Cheryl Mittica. Funeral Services will be held on Thursday (June 24, 2010) at St. James Episcopal Church, 19 Walden Street, West Hartford at 10 a.m. There will be no calling hours. Montano-Shea Funeral Home, 5 Steele Road, New Hartford has care of the arrangements. Burial will be private and held at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, 103 Old IronOre Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
Charles Huron Kaman (1919 - 2011)*
Created by: Missing*U*Always ~ Lovin...
Record added: Jun 23, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 54047848