Our beloved Bob died at his cherished home Rancho Dar A Luz in New Paltz on August 8, 2021 due to an aggressive form of prostate cancer. He was lovingly supported by his wife, family, friends, and Hospice. He was predeceased by his father, Gerard, when he was 8, and later by his mother, Margie, brothers Gerard and infant Richie, sisters Carol and Marjorie and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Bob was born on March 7, 1941 in Woodside, Queens, which remained an important geographic hub for his life and family. As a child he attended St. Sebastian School, had a turbulent adolescence, and joined the Air Force at age 17 where he remained for 4 years. Bob learned cryptography, and was honorably discharged in 1962. Following his discharge, he returned to Woodside and had many vocations such as working at the Pan-Am Hotel, American Express, as a street vendor, and bartended at many local bars. He married his sweetheart Virginia, “Ginny” Hahn, and had 2 children, Gregory and Dawn. He was also stepfather to Patrick.
In 1978 Bob experienced a major turning point and moved to the spiritual community, The Farm, in Summertown, Tennessee. There he was surrounded by others who were also seeking values of peace, support, communal work efforts, community volunteerism, and caring for the planet and its inhabitants. He spent time on the sister farm in Franklin, New York and then with others, developed the renowned Plenty Free Volunteer Ambulance Service of the South Bronx, which became the fastest in NYC. Bob became an EMT and CPR instructor and community educator.
With these skills he became part of a job training program offering local Bronx residents certification as EMTs leading to jobs in EMS. He became a 911 dispatcher for NYC EMS, and later became an RN. He worked at St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital, the Astor Home for Children, and most recently Wellness Home Care. Bob became a Licensed Massage Therapist and Polarity Practitioner and was well respected and sought after in NYC and the Hudson Valley. His midwifery connections brought many women and children into his care.
In the 1990’s Bob moved to New Paltz where several beloved Farm friend families had also settled. Of great importance in his initial years in New Paltz was being invited as the solo male presence in a girls group called Animals Everywhere. It was there that he met his beloved Judy Joffee and soon thereafter, her daughter Willow. Bob and Judy married at their home on September 24, 1999. They shared 26 full, rich, and wonderful years together.
Bob was actively involved in the municipal community and volunteered and studied extensively within the Town Planning Board, ZBA, and ENCC. He advocated for smart development and preservation of woods and wetlands, was a founding member of “Save the Woods and Wetlands of New Paltz”, and co-authored what is now called the Town of New Paltz Wetlands and Watercourse Protection. Bob was predeceased by his close friends Chet Mirsky and Dave Porter, also staunch environmental protectors and experts.
Bob’s lifestyle changed 11 years ago when he found healing, sanity, support, guidance and friendships as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Bob wholeheartedly applied himself to the 12 step program and made changes to his ways of living through study, service, deep introspection and sharing. Bob grew through AA and positively impacted many fellow members with his caring, compassion, and kindness. He lived moment to moment, one day at a time in his spiritual commitment to a life in recovery.
Our Bob is remembered by some of these snapshots of his life: Hurricane Katrina volunteer, flower gatherer, smile of assurance and acceptance, heart-opener, sacred male warrior, tenor at Kingston Community Singers, Health Care as a Human Right volunteer, family man, warmth, joy, speaker of his truth, Japanese language learner, karate student, Kiswahili learner, Tai Chi practitioner, crossword puzzle extraordinaire, water brother, ocean man, SEQRA expert, blue eyes shining on us, journal writer, animal tracker and lost item finder, IMAGINE, and trusted friend.
He is greatly missed by the families and friends whom he forever impacted with his love- Judy, Willow and Pablo, Mario, Ginny, Gregory, Dawn and George, Patrick and Sue, Hilary and Len, Arielle and Bryan, Aunt Chickie, Keith, Melanie and Laura, and many cousins. In bereavement over the loss of their “Pop Pop” are grandchildren Chelsea, Ethan, Sebastian, Cami, Luna, and Lukas. Bereaved close friends include Kathy and Bob, Gene and Frances, Buddy and Diana, Kim, and Kim, Dan, Colleen and Lance, Rich and Lori, Nancy and Dan, Steve, Ryan, Kenny, and Tom. The young girls, now women who also mourn their Bob are Nellie, Sierra, Aurora, Barbara, Camille and many others.
A small family memorial was held at Point Lookout.
In the writings of Bob — “TUG” — Thank You God.