Robert Charles Laprel was born January 19, 1951 in Haverhill. Known by everyone as “Bob,” he was a lifelong Haverhill resident and was a graduate of Haverhill High School Class of 1969. During his high school years he was a member of the cross-country and track teams as well as the National Honor Society. After high school Bob attended Boston College and continued his running there. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in History in 1973. Bob persevered through emotional adversity during his high school and college years when both of his parents died.
Bob returned to Haverhill with anticipation of becoming a high school teacher. However, jobs were scarce, and he soon found himself taking the entrance exam for the Massachusetts State Police. Bob spent the next 32 years with the State Police. He retired in March 2007 after climbing high up in the ranks as Major. He became a Crisis Negotiator with the Massachusetts State Police and served in that capacity for 14 years including eight years as Team Commander.
Bob was one of the founding members and served as first President of the New England Crisis Negotiators Association (NECNA), a non-profit professional association that provides networking and training opportunities for law enforcement and correction personnel throughout New England tasked by their agencies with Crisis/Hostage Negotiations. He had provided training in Crisis Negotiation topics to agencies including: the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department, Essex County Sheriff’s Department, the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Department, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
After his retirement, Bob was never known for slowing down. He spent more time with the Samaritans of the Merrimack Valley, a program of Family Service, Inc. of Lawrence. Bob served as a trainer conducting workshops and presentations on such topics as “Suicide and Aging.” He was a long-time volunteer on the Samaritans Crisis Hot Line.
In addition, Bob taught at the Essex County Sherriff’s Department preparing officers for their sergeants’ exam.
In his private life, Bob was a devoted family man. He and his wife Mary raised their four children, Robert Jr., Shauna, Mary Caitlin and Brendan, in the house he grew up in. Weekends meant taking his sons’ to their Haverhill Youth Hockey games, and attending his daughters’ dance recitals. He was a human GPS and loved exploring back roads throughout New England.
One gift Bob shared with his family was his passion for running. He coached their cross country and track teams at St. Joseph School. Bob was always one to take part in local road races including Newburyport’s Annual Yankee Homecoming and the Falmouth Road Race. He encouraged his son Brendan and brother Jim to run the Boston Marathon. He watched his son Rob compete in the Iron Man in Lake Placid.
Bob’s zest for life radiated from his personality. He was down-to-earth and enjoyed the simple things in life. He loved watching the Boston Bruins, drinking Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, walking his beloved dog Piper, playing with his granddaughters, and being with his family and friends.
Bob passed away unexpectedly on December 12, 2010.