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Legislator’s autopsy determines death was accidental drowning

ACTIVE CHURCH MEMBER The Rev. Christopher Hickey, pastor of St. Mary’s Church, decribed Robert J. Nyman (inset) as ‘‘a man of the people.’’ ACTIVE CHURCH MEMBER
The Rev. Christopher Hickey, pastor of St. Mary’s Church, decribed Robert J. Nyman (inset) as ‘‘a man of the people.’’
By Marissa Lang
Globe Correspondent / June 28, 2010

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The Plymouth district attorney’s Office ruled Friday’s death of state Representative Robert J. Nyman an accidental drowning after autopsy results were released by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner yesterday.

The district attorney’s office said there was no evidence of foul play, and did not release any more information about the death.

A wake to honor the well-liked Hanover Democrat will be held tomorrow and Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. each day in Hanover Town Hall.

A funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Thursday in St. Mary of the Sacred Heart Church in Hanover.

“We expect a huge outpouring from everyone here and everyone throughout the community,’’ said Michael Mullen, 25, of Rockland, who knew Nyman through their involvement in the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a community-based nonprofit organization.

Nyman was found unresponsive in his backyard pool Friday night by family members, who called 911. Neighbors pulled him from the water and performed CPR, according to a statement released Saturday by Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz.

Once firefighters arrived, Nyman, who was wearing a shirt and shorts, was rushed to South Shore Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 49.

The House of Representatives will also hold observances to honor Nyman, who represented Hanover, Norwell, and Rockland for 19 years, said Seth Gitell, a spokesman for House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.

No date has been set for an observance. The Legislature will work around the Nyman family’s schedule, Gitell said.

“Not only was Bob a fierce advocate for his district, he was a true friend to all in the House, where he served with honor, integrity, and distinction since 1999,’’ DeLeo said in a statement released Saturday.

“To simply say we will miss him would not do justice to the deep personal sense of loss we all feel at this moment.’’

“The Massachusetts House of Representatives extends its most sincere condolences to the entire Nyman family and to all who were privileged to count Bob as a friend,’’ DeLeo said.

The Rev. Christopher Hickey, pastor of St. Mary’s Church said he expected that Nyman’s funeral would be the largest the church has ever had.

“He really was a man of the people,’’ Hickey said.

Hickey said he had known Nyman for six years and that he volunteered regularly with St. Mary’s youth groups.

“He was a true Catholic gentleman – and a good man, and a good friend,’’ Hickey said.

Nyman leaves his wife, Rhonda, their two daughters, Kristina and Kara, , and his mother, Christine.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@globe.com.

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