Danvers, MA — Robert W. Raiche, a longtime Danvers resident, passed away peacefully following a brief illness, on January 1, 2014. He was 85 years of age. Born in Springfield, Mass., he was the son of George A. and Ina A. (Huddell) Raiche. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Springfield College. He worked for many years as a YMCA director, including Springfield, Mass., Hilo, Hawaii, Danvers, Salem, and Portsmouth, N.H. He was also the executive director of the National Kidney Foundation of Massachusetts. Later, he opened Toys and Things, a popular toy store in Danvers, which he ran until 2009.
He was an elected Town Meeting member for over 40 years, and involved in the Danvers Educational Enrichment Program (DEEP).
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Yooko (Shimana) Raiche; and their three children, George and his wife, Joan Molitoris of San Francisco, Calif., Robert Jr. of Stafford, Conn., and his children, Robert III and Katharine; daughter, Ina (Raiche) Drouin and her husband, Gregory, of Danvers, and their children, Christopher and Jason; in addition to many special relatives from Hawaii and California.
Bob founded Friends Forever in 1986.The mission of Friends Forever is to create trust, empathy and friendships among cultures in conflict by working with international and local youth leaders. Programs are currently active in Northern Ireland, Israel and Africa. He continued on the board until his death, and was deeply dedicated to their mission.
In 2012, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the organization. He also received numerous awards and recognition, including the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice in 2001, and the Martin Luther King Diversity Award in Danvers. A longtime Rotarian, he received two of Rotary International’s highest honors, the Service Above Self Award and the Donald MacRae Peace Award.