Robert Alan Dare, 49, accountant for The Arc and singer-musician

February 01, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Robert Alan Dare, an accountant for The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region who enjoyed collecting Christmas ornaments and singing, died of colorectal cancer Thursday at his Darlington home. He was 49.

Mr. Dare was born in Havre de Grace and raised in Aberdeen. A 1973 graduate of Aberdeen High School, he was a member of its wrestling team. He also sang in the school's a cappella choir and was a member of the All-State Chorus and All-Eastern Chorus.

He earned an associate's degree from Harford Community College and a bachelor's degree in business in 1977 from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

Mr. Dare had worked as an accountant for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lancaster, Pa., before becoming business administrator in 1984 at the John Carroll School in Bel Air. He also taught accounting and business classes, and coached junior varsity wrestling.

He was also a part-time business instructor at Harford Community College in the 1980s and maintained a private accounting practice.

Since 1998, he had worked with The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, which helps people with developmental disabilities in Harford and Cecil counties.

"He was easy to work with, never got flustered and got very close to people, including the clients," said Tim Quinn, executive director of The Arc. "They adored him."

In 2002, Mr. Dare's cancer was diagnosed.

"He kept coming to work and didn't want to lose time. Even after chemotherapy treatments, he still came in. Rob was the kind of guy who refused to let his illness hold him back," Mr. Quinn said.

Knowing his love of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, co-workers had a Jerry Garcia doll installed on the bookshelves in his office.

"They also donated sick and vacation time to Rob," Mr. Quinn said.

Mr. Dare retired on a medical disability last year.

A talented musician and vocalist, Mr. Dare had taught himself to play the guitar and keyboards and had been a member of several bands during his high school and college years. As an adult, he performed at weddings and other events, including the annual Darlington Independence Day Celebration.

"But he enjoyed most of all playing and singing for friends and family on the front porch of his home in Darlington, a big Victorian house on Main Street that was built in 1858," said his wife of six years, the former Kira Hodous, a science teacher at North Harford High School who met him at a 1995 Grateful Dead concert in Philadelphia.

Mr. Dare's musical repertoire included the Doors; the Grateful Dead; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; and the Indigo Girls.

"He was an old hippie with a ponytail and beard who became an accountant, and I suppose that's an oxymoron of sorts," she said.

Mr. Dare was also an inveterate collector of Department 56 miniature ceramic houses, Christopher Radko Christmas ornaments, jigsaw puzzles, nutcrackers, antique Santa Claus and snowman figures, and tie-dyed T-shirts.

"He had filled the attic with his collectibles and treasures," his wife said.

Mr. Dare achieved Eagle Scout status in 1977 and remained interested in Scouting. He was active with Boy Scout troops in Darlington and Aberdeen. He had been inducted into the Order of the Arrow - Scouting's honor society - and also received its Vigil Honor in 2003, recognizing outstanding service.

He was a member and sang with the choir of Darlington United Methodist Church.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Grace United Methodist Church, 110 W. Bel Air Ave. in Aberdeen.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Dare is survived by a son, Robert Edward Dare, 18, of Darlington; two daughters, Robin Elizabeth Johnson, 21, of Trappe, Pa., and Scarlet Corinne Dare, 6; his mother, Dorothy M. Dare of Aberdeen; a brother, Richard Dare of Aberdeen; and two sisters, Karen Mitchell of Aberdeen and Margaret Scibek of Goldvein, Va. His previous marriage ended in divorce.

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