Variety has been byword -- Poor generous with 'spare' time

August 31, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Robert A. "Bob" Poor can categorize his adult life into three distinct phases - his military life, his corporate life and his entrepreneurial life.

Poor, 78, said he has enjoyed everything with which he's been involved over the years.

And he remains involved.

"My latest venture is the Senior Referral Center of Hagerstown," Poor said.

At no cost to seniors, Poor and four others have been working for about a year, trying to make sure that senior citizens know how to access the services they need.

Those areas include elder living options, home care, pre-planning of funerals, legal and caregiver services, real estate and financial advice, reverse mortgages and senior day care, to name a few.


At the same time, Poor is co-chairman of SCORE, a counseling service for small-business owners, an elder at First Christian Church and a volunteer at the Washington County Technical High School.

In his "spare" time, Poor also writes two columns for The Herald-Mail newspapers.

Born in California in 1928, Poor was an only child for the first 10 years of his life.

"Then my brother Charles came along and that was it," Poor said.

The family left California for New England in 1932. "I completed high school in Massachusetts and then entered the U.S. Navy in 1946," he said.

For three years, Poor was a Naval aviation technician. He left the service to attend Dartmouth College where he earned his degree in sociology.

In 1951, he married and fathered three children.

Plans to go to the University of Southern California for a master's degree in forensics were sidetracked when the Korean War broke out and Poor was recalled by the Navy.

For the next seven years, he sailed the world on aircraft carriers, destroyers and oilers. Then Poor went into the Reserves.

When Poor was 32, he began a second phase of his life, first in real estate development in California.

"I sold desert property for a while - if you can sell sand with a cactus in the middle of it, you can sell anything," he said.

Next came five years of recruiting, selecting and screening insurance agents.

"But I still wanted to sell," Poor said. "So I filled a sales job with myself."

That sales job led to five years in the computer industry, first in this country and then another three years in Western Europe, where he worked out of Ghent, Belgium.

Back home in 1976, Poor briefly worked as marketing director for an electronics firm.

"Then in 1979, I was 51 and ready to do my own thing," Poor said, thus beginning his third "life."

He and Jackie, his second wife, were married in 1981. "We just celebrated our 25th anniversary," he said.

Poor created a home- security company, marketing to homeowners in Massachusetts for five years. Then he got an offer from Wayne Alter, then head of Dynamark in Charlottesville, Va., and worked for him until 1986.

When Dynamark became a franchise, Poor came to Hagerstown and served as the firm's national public relations director until 1990.

The urge to change horses came upon him again and he went back to the insurance industry for five years, retiring in 1996.

The Senior Referral Center now occupies Poor's time along with his volunteer work with SCORE, which has an office at 28 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

The 18 men and women who make up the local office of SCORE are dedicated to helping people of all ages in their efforts to set up and run businesses.

"We are actively recruiting for more members to volunteer for SCORE," Poor said. Anyone interested may call Poor at 301-739-1963.

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