Local legend and Maple View Farm founder Robert Nutter — or Farmer Bob, as he was commonly known — died on March 8 at the age of 90.
Farmer Bob was born in Maine, but moved to Hillsborough in 1963, bringing the Maple View Farm along with him. Hardworking and smart, Farmer Bob’s commitment propelled Maple View to success.
Farmer Bob’s son and co-founder of the farm, Roger Nutter, said his father had a large role on the farm up until three years ago when he suffered from a stroke.
“He was instrumental in ‘96 in getting the milk company started,” Roger said. “Then four years later, he opened up the ice cream store, and then a couple (of) years after that, he opened up the Maple View Agricultural Center.”
The Maple View Agricultural Educational Center is one of Farmer Bob’s most impactful and lasting legacies.
“He really wanted to give back to the community; that’s why he built the agricultural center,” Roger said. “He wanted kids to know where their food comes from — that it doesn’t just come from the grocery store — and how it gets there.”
Farmer Bob also created a fund through the Triangle Community Foundation, which provides money to promote literacy by purchasing books for Orange County schools, according to his obituary.
Farmer Bob was additionally lauded with several accolades for his community contributions. Among them are the Distinguished Dairy Farmer award, awarded to him in 1999 by North Carolina State University’s Department of Animal Science and the Orange County Recreation and Parks Department Advisory Council’s Volunteer Service Award in 2001.
Allison Nichols-Clapper is a manager and partner at Maple View who recalled her interactions with Farmer Bob fondly.
“He had such empathy for others, and he was so proud of the community and so proud to be a part of the community,” she said. “And he took pride in all of his work. He was proud to be a farmer.”
When she first heard the news of his passing on television, she was pleasantly surprised to hear Bob was referred to as an “icon."
“One of the news stories said he was a legend," she said. "Not just in Orange County but in North Carolina, and it's reached back to Maine, where he was from. The things that he’s done for agriculture and for the community and for his businesses — it’s phenomenal. It’s quite the legacy to have.”
Nichols said Farmer Bob had a “larger than life” personality.
“I told people if you were in a room with 500 people and someone said something funny you would easily be able to identify where Farmer Bob was in the room because of his laugh,” she said. “But Bob was just a phenomenal person. I mean he was truly one of a kind.”
A celebration of "Farmer Bob" Nutter’s life will be held on April 6 at New Hope Presbyterian Church. Guests are invited to arrive at 1:30 p.m. The service will begin at 3:00 p.m., according to his obituary.
His family requests that donations be made to either Hospice of Alamance-Caswell, 914 Chapel Hill Rd., Burlington, N.C. 27215, or the Triangle Community Foundation, 800 Park Offices Dr., Suite 201, Research Triangle Park, N.C. 27709.
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