Somers Police Lt. Robert Stanton had a way of making everyone feel cared for and safe, both as a police officer, and in all other facets of his life.
With his wife, Helga, children Corinne, Robert Jr., Janine and Rick, and eight grandchildren, Stanton was at the center of it all.
He died July 18, shortly after his 78th birthday and his 50th wedding anniversary, surrounded by his family.
Stanton was born July 10, 1941, to Antoinette and Carl Stanton in New York City. His plan was to go to college and become a dental technician, but switched paths to become a police officer shortly after graduation. He was in a dental lab making molds of teeth, Helga Stanton said, when he looked out the window and saw a cop directing traffic. He thought to himself, that doesn’t look like a hard job, and applied to be a police officer.
The Stantons lived in an apartment with his parents in the Bronx while saving for a house. They came to Carmel to visit Helga Stanton’s aunt and someone mentioned Somers was a nice place to live. On the way back to the city, they stopped to see a real estate agent.
“They showed us this house and that was it,” Helga Stanton said of their home in Lake Lincolndale.
Robert Stanton joined the Mount Vernon Police Department in 1964 and his first assignment was as a motorcycle cop. He advanced to detective and retired in 1984. Stanton then worked for IBM in security in Purchase and for Lehrer-McGovern and White Plains Center doing security.
In 1989, he joined the Somers Police Department where he advanced to lieutenant and worked up until the end of his life.
Throughout his life, he had two constants: family and work, in that order.
When Robert and Helga had their first child, Corinne, the new father drove around Mount Vernon in his police vehicle with a sign, “It’s a girl!”
“I never had a day where I didn’t think I was loved—because of him,” said Corinne Stanton, who works at Halston Media, which owns The Somers Record. “It was an emotional moment when he came to the hospital to see his first granddaughter, Diana.
“I said, ‘Daddy, she has a dimple on her chin just like you,’” Corinne said. “My dad’s is pronounced, his is like a cross like he was blessed by an angel. He just cried to see his first granddaughter. Eight grandchildren later, he finds the special in everyone.”
At work, Stanton quickly earned a reputation for his fierce dedication to professionalism and fairness on the force. He had a work ethic that was unmatched and took pride in how he appeared, always wanting his uniform to be cleaned and pressed.
He was a hero to the community and, more importantly, to his family. His sons Robert Jr. and Rick followed in his footsteps. Rick Stanton is an officer with the MTA and Robert Jr. is a member of the New York State Police.
“As a kid, you always look up to your dad,” Robert Jr. said. “When he worked out in Mount Vernon, he was like this big statue of our dad sitting on a Harley, and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s so cool. I want to be like that.’
Rick Stanton got to do just that when he was assigned to the motorcycle patrol with the MTA.
“I was riding in a parade and he was actually a spectator in the parade, and I pulled up on him and he was very emotional to take that all in. In a previous career, he was that guy out there and now he’s sitting back watching me do the same thing,” Rick said. “He could appear big and intimidating, but he was actually a teddy bear on the inside. I inherited his trait of being an emotional basket case when it comes to love for family.”
He would tell his kids, “You’re never too old to kiss your dad,” Robert Jr. said. “Every time we said goodbye, I always gave him a hug and a kiss. My kids loved him. He was definitely an amazing man.”
Stanton always saw the good in people.
Helga Stanton remembers the time he pulled over a woman speeding on Lovell Street in Somers. When he found out she was on her way to deliver Girl Scout cookies, he bought a few boxes instead of giving her a ticket.
“His loss leaves a large void in this department,” Somers Police Chief Michael Driscoll said. “Our most sincere condolences go out to his wife, Helga, and to his entire family. Lt. Stanton was my assistant for many years as well as a dear friend. In my absence, he took charge of the department and I knew it was in very competent hands.”
The flags were flown at half staff at Somers Town Hall in honor of Stanton, and police officers stood watch over his casket at the wake Monday and Tuesday at Clark Associates Funeral Home in Katonah.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church and internment was at Ivandell Cemetery.
“Bob was a long-time member of the Somers community who raised four children in town,” Supervisor Rick Morrissey said. “He was a good man who had a strong love for his family and community. Bob will be missed by many.”
Stanton was a devoted grandfather to Diana, Mikey, Ricky, Rachel, Chloe, Lila, Bobby (III) and Andi. He was predeceased by his brother Raymond Stanton, brother in law to Rosemarie Stanton and caring uncle to Raymond Jr., Ronald and Susan plus many cousins who loved him dearly.
He was a member of the Blue Knights Chapter 12, the New York State Fraternal Order of Police No. 704, New York Police and Fire Retiree Association, Somers Benevolent Association, Somers Lions Club and Lake Lincolndale Properties Association.
His hobbies included riding his motorcycle, playing softball, attending car shows, racquetball, boating, dancing, eating Italian cuisine, gardening, going on cruises, and enjoying his morning coffee while looking out over the lake in Lincolndale.
The family had a boat they named after Stanton’s family motto: “Togetherness.”
In the community, the Stantons had an open door policy at their house. In addition to raising two foster children, friends of their kids were always stopping by.
“Our house was the house everyone wanted to be at,” Corinne said.
In the days since his death, the Stantons have received an outpouring of support from the community.
“I knew how he was, I know people used to say, ‘Oh he’s such a great guy,’ but now seeing it in writing and hearing comments about what people are saying, it’s been very heartwarming,” Helga said.
In lieu of flowers, you can donate to the Robert Stanton Scholarship fund. Donations can be sent to the Town of Somers PBA, P.O. Box 501, Somers, N.Y. 10589