In Memoriam – Robert Michaud
Many of us have known Bob Michaud and his wife Ellen through their long time participation in the activities of the Larz Anderson Automobile Museum and as the owners of a beautiful British Racing Green Jaguar E-Type OTS. A brilliant electrical engineer and a gifted singer, Bob was also a passionate car enthusiast and a great, generous friend of the Museum.
Although he was born and raised in Salem, MA, his roots were French Canadian. His mother was originally from Nova Scotia, and his father from Quebec. When World War II broke out, Bob was commissioned as an Ensign into the Navy V-12 program and served aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). The V-12 program took him to MIT, where he earned a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, he joined Raytheon and soon became one of the earliest employees of Computer Control Company, Inc., one of the seminal organizations in the development of computers in the early 1950’s. The company moved the Michauds to Southern California, where Bob was involved with computer control of missiles for the Navy. Eventually, the family moved back to the Boston area where Bob was a co-founder of several computer companies that pioneered technological breakthroughs such as the introduction of barcoding to track merchandise in supermarkets and the use of touch screens on computers. The Michaud family lived for many years in Bedford.
One of Bob’s major interests was of course the appreciation of sports and classic cars. Over the years, he and Ellen owned several beautiful cars, including a 1950 Jaguar Mark V Drop Head, a Ferrari Lusso coupe and a Jaguar E-Type Roadster, all of which were enthusiastically driven. In fact, their Mark V Jaguar was selected as the picture of the month for September in the official Jaguar calendar of 1999. The photo has an elegant Beacon Hill setting featuring Ellen and the Jaguar. Bob wasn’t in the picture because he was behind the camera!
He was also active in motorsports and automotive writing. Bob and Ellen were members of the Sports Car Club of America when they lived in Southern California, where they participated in rallies, served as corner workers at race tracks, and generally enjoyed the SoCal sports car scene. Among their friends and neighbors in Santa Monica was Phil Hill, who stored his C-Type Jaguar in their garage. In Massachusetts, Bob was an enthusiastic member and supporter of the Larz Anderson Automobile Museum, where he served as a Trustee and as Chairman of the Exhibit Committee. A driving force both in shaping the Museum’s message and conveying it to the public, Bob also researched provenance and formulated much of the interpretation for the exhibits. The Board of Directors recognized his invaluable service by awarding him a Lifetime Membership. Bob was also incredibly active in organizing and overseeing the Museum’s signature Lawn Events during his tenure here, and he and Ellen absolutely loved driving their E-Type to show at British Car Day. Many will remember Bob’s wonderful, dry sense of humor.
Bob and Ellen loved driving their E-Type and showing it at British Car Day. That E-Type was unusual in that it had triple Webers replacing the original dual Strombergs, and was a potent machine indeed. When the time came for them to part with their car, it was eventually sold to a new owner in Rhode Island.
As well as writing, Bob had a great dry sense of humor, and was adept at springing puns on you when least expected them. He also loved the ocean, especially swimming and sailing in the warm waters of Buzzards Bay.
Thanks for the memories, Bob. He was a true friend and great asset to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, and will be missed.
This memorial to Bob Michaud is excerpted from the original written by LAAM Trustee Carl Hanson for the Jaguar club newsletter, “The Coventry Cat.” A memorial service will be held at First Parish Church (Unitarian) in Bedford, MA, at 1:30 p.m. on March 15th. Donations can mailed to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum at 15 Newton St. Brookline, MA or here online. Donations in Bob’s memory are approved by Ellen and the family.