“People who just didn’t like the boat being rocked made his life a lot more difficult,” said R. Peter Anderson, a retired District Court judge. “But he was willing to do it because he believed in the cause and thought it was worth it.”
Spina said Mr. Kumor’s criticism of the Probation Department was prescient. “It wasn’t working the way it should be working,” Spina said. “There was a lot of injustice. He was telegraphing the problem a long time ago.”
When he retired from the bench in 2009, Mr. Kumor, as with everything else, directly confronted his ALS diagnosis.
“When I was diagnosed, it was a very difficult of course,” he said during his farewell, according to The Republican newspaper in Springfield. “You get some focus, I have to admit, when someone says, ‘Hey, buddy, things ain’t so hot.’ ”
In retirement, despite illness, Mr. Kumor traveled widely and enjoyed the camaraderie of a large circle of friends who took turns bringing meals and engaging in a battle of wits.
“We called it ‘Dinner with Bobby,’ ” Modzelewski said. “He called it his own salon. They’d bring food, a little drink, and talk about art, music, dance, and, of course, politics.”
Mr. Kumor had been looking forward to a large family reunion later this summer and planned to present his nephews and their children with blue New York Yankees jerseys adorned with the number 4 for Lou Gehrig, whose name has become synonymous with ALS.
Mr. Kumor leaves his sisters, Maryellen Kumor Channing of Chicopee and Susan Kumor Frisbie of Virginia.
A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Friday in St. Patrick’s Church in Chicopee Falls.
Some of his happiest moments, Mr. Kumor told close friends, were spent enjoying the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. And he was there last week with his friend, Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup, to see a performance by Ballet BC from British Columbia.
“He lived and breathed the artistry of dance,” Rup said. “He loved the choreography. Like everything about Bob, he knew a lot about a lot of things, and he knew a lot about dance.”
Rup and Mr. Kumor dined beforehand at the Dream Away Lodge in Becket, where many patrons wished him well. “It was a lovely evening, a wonderful dinner, and a great performance,” Rup said. “It’s nice to know that he had a good last week, even though none of us knew this was coming.”
Thomas Farragher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.