SALISBURY — If the New England Patriots were on, Andrew Dobson was watching them.
“He loved the Patriots. He was a huge fan,” Sean Dobson, Andrew’s younger brother, recalled.
Watching his beloved Pats was exactly what Andrew Dobson, known as “Dibba” to his relatives and friends, was doing on his last day alive.
On Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, after the Pats game was over, Dobson then started watching the next football game: The Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
During the game, Dobson ducked out of the back room at his parents’ home on Commonwealth Avenue, where he lived, and headed to the nearby convenience store for a pack of cigarettes.
“He never came back,” Sean Dobson said.
A police officer later came to the door and told his parents that Andrew, 51, had been killed in a crash, struck by a Jeep, just steps away from the house on Ocean Boulevard in Seabrook.
“My mother said he was right in the back room. And she checked and he wasn’t there,” Sean Dobson said.
It’s been nearly a year since Sean lost his brother but time has not diminished the pain.
“He was such a great artist. He was unbelievable. He could look at a photo and then duplicate it for you,” Sean said. “He did one of me and my daughter. He could just look at something and he could paint it.”
Longtime friend Tracy Connolly Watson of North Andover also has a picture Andrew painted of her son, Cameron.
She goes “way back” with the Dobson family and even went to a North Andover High prom with Andrew, she said.
The Dobson family lived in North Andover and had a summer home at Salisbury Beach.
Watson recalled “Dibba’s” “sweet loving soul” and his constant humor.
“I don’t want Dibba to be defined by his death. I want him defined by his life. ... To die in such a violent way is really hard to accept,” Watson said.
A 1985 North Andover High School graduate, Dobson later attended Westfield State College. He worked for Verizon before taking early retirement, Sean said.
Over the years, he was a popular bartender at the Calumet Club in Lawrence and O’Shaffee’s at Salisbury Beach. He also worked at Markey’s Lobster Pool on the Salisbury/Seabrook line, where he developed many longtime friends.
His “Dibba” nickname emerged sometime during high school. Sean isn’t sure who coined the name or what it meant, but it stuck.
Sean said his brother loved to entertain and was even known to grab the microphone. His personal renditions of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and REM’s “End of the World” earned him legendary status among his friends, Sean said.
“He was always, always the life of the party. And he would give you the shirt off his back,” Sean said.
But the center of Andrew’s universe was his son, Liam, who is now age 12, he said.
“The most important thing to him was he was a Dad. ... It was all about Liam,” he said.
And before Liam was born, Andrew was a doting uncle to Sean’s daughter, Maille Dobson, 21.
“Oh my God, he adored her like crazy. And then after Liam was born it was all about Liam and Maille,” Sean said.
Sean carries a photo of Andrew and Liam in his phone.
The father and son are captured together having a great beach day.
His brother was so much more than a crash victim, Sean said.
“He was guy who loved his son more than anything and just made countless people happy and smile. He was friendly with everybody,” Sean said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.