Robert Richard "Bob" Gallo

Obituary of Robert Richard "Bob" Gallo

Robert Richard "Bob" Gallo, a gentleman and scholar, met his maker on September 19, 2020. Born in Clyde, NY, on August 25,1931, he was the son of Ida Compitello Gallo and Anthony Gallo, whose families emigrated to Central New York from hill towns outside of Naples. The Gallos lived at 8 Chapel Street in Auburn, a stone's throw away from Holy Family Church. The priests regularly called his mother to see if "Bobby" could step in as an altar boy when others were no-shows. He helped serve Mass hundreds of times. In return, the priests gave Bob a lesson in compassion. As a young boy during the Depression, he remembered seeing hobos walk from the train tracks behind Holy Family to the back door of the rectory to get food. Bob was the second of three boys and was pre-deceased by brothers: Jerry (Helen) and Dick Gallo. His sister-in-law, Sally Marinelli Gallo, survives him. Bob was particularly close to his uncle, "Joe Jazz" Compitello, leader of the Clyde Saxton Band, who taught him to play drums when he was just three years old. He went on to win several competitions, and he could always pick out the best drummer in any drumline. Nicknamed "Bisc" by his classmates because he was fast like 1930s racehorse Sea Biscuit, Bob attended Holy Family Grammar School and High School under the watchful eyes of Father Davie and the Sisters of Mercy. A three-sport varsity standout, Bob's biggest victory was winning the heart of Joan Klink during their senior year. Even though Joan came from St. Alphonsus Grammar School with German and Irish roots, Bob was smitten. They formed a formidable partnership of 62 years, until Joan's death in 2016. Bob earned a bachelor's degree in Biology and Chemistry from LeMoyne College in 1954. He funded his education by working construction jobs on the New York State Thruway and hitchhiked between Auburn and Syracuse to attend class. Within days of graduating, Bob married Joan and launched his teaching career at Clyde Central School, where he also coached several of the boys' athletic teams with legendary coach Nick DerCola. A life-long learner, Bob received a Master of Science from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Cornell University. In a 25-year career at Cayuga Community College, he served as a professor, director of continuing education and dean of administrative and educational services. He also was an evaluator for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Early in his tenure, Bob led a program to bring artists and intellectuals to campus, like Simon & Garfunkel, philosopher Marshall McLuhan, author Immanuel Velikovsky and poet John Ciardi, whom he welcomed into his home. Bob also shared his love of astronomy with family and friends, setting up a telescope on campus to view the planets, meteor showers or a new comet. Later he re-invented himself as an expert in root cause analysis at the New York Power Authority and again as an independent human factors consultant to nuclear power plants and pharmaceutical companies. After Bob pursued the bulk of his higher education, it was Joan's turn to earn her undergraduate degree at Cornell. This was years before the full-fledged women's movement challenged traditional gender norms. They were early role models for their four daughters who watched Joan handle a full course load and manage the family's finances, while Bob did the grocery shopping and cooked dinner - except on date nights at Balloons! In his element in the kitchen, Bob cooked dishes handed down from his mother and grandmother – but he was also adventurous – and his family and friends enjoyed many memorable meals. Bob was also a tender caregiver, completely devoted to Joan and the "Gallo Girls." Often asked whether he wished he'd had a boy, Bob always responded that he loved his girls and wouldn't have it any other way. True to his Jesuit values and education, Bob made a difference in the lives of those in need. He served more than 15 years on the board of United Way of Cayuga County and was instrumental in establishing hospice services in the Auburn area. In the late 1960s, he conceived a project to provide college-level classes to prisoners at Auburn Correctional Facility, a forerunner of the Cornell Prison Education Program. At a time of social unrest and with the Attica Prison uprising on the horizon, Bob also extended the program to the prison guards. This was one of the first programs of its type in the country intended to rehabilitate prisoners and reduce recidivism. He served for many years on the Osborne Memorial Association board and conducted significant research on the work of prison reformer Thomas Mott Osborne. Bob was also a member of the Skaneateles Country Club and the Owasco Yacht Club, where he, Joan and the girls sailed a Comet. He especially relished long sails down the lake with Don Hoffman, cigars alit. For more than 40 years he and Joan vacationed at Saratoga's "summer meet," never missing the Travers Stakes. A music and arts lover, he enjoyed the NYC Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra at Saratoga Performing Arts Center almost as much as the races. He once piled the girls into their VW bug, drove to SPAC to watch the stage version of Jesus Christ Superstar and drove home again, all in the same day. A faithful Cornell alum, Bob was a frequent tailgater at football games, and his sausage sandwiches and Joan's brownies were a winning combination. Together they cheered on the Cornell hockey team as vocal members of the "Lynah Faithful" and traveled to games in the North Country and New England on the hockey boosters bus, often in dubious weather. On weekends Bob had early tee times at the Cornell Golf Course and recently enjoyed returning to Moakley House for burgers with his progeny of Cornellians. He is survived by his four daughters: Mary (Clark) Tucker; Martha Gallo (Charles Kerner); Margaret Gallo (Frederik DeWolf) and Maria (Bradley) Ashbrook. Grandpa, or "Gramps," and his Hess trucks will be missed by grandchildren Robert (Jessica) Tucker; Lizzie Tucker (Craig Patane); Catherine and Annie Kerner; Ana DeWolf Gallo and Keenan and John Ashbrook. Bob is also survived by brothers-in-law David Hickey and John (Suzanne) Klink. His sister-in-law Regina Klink also survives him, in addition to 20 nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by brothers-in-law Thomas, Charles and Lawrence Klink and sisters-in-law Paula Hickey, Mary Ann Klink and Rosemary Klink. Bob Gallo had a broad mind and deep faith. He knew what matters most is the moment and eternity. A celebration of Bob's life will be held at a later date. In the meantime, the Gallo family would like to thank Kathaleen Mason for her wonderful support of Bob over the past four years and the staff at Kendal at Ithaca for their superb care. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Bob's memory to Food Bank of Central New York at 7066 Interstate Island Road, Syracuse, NY 13209 or to Sisters of Mercy at 625 Abbott Road, Buffalo, NY 14220 and indicate Retired/Infirm Sisters on memo line. Alternatively, Bob would be pleased if you carried out an act of kindness for someone in need.