Dr. Robert Paul Forte

14 February, 193228 October, 2020

Dr. Robert Paul Forte, 88, of Ridgewood, New Jersey died peacefully on October 28, 2020, while surrounded by family, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Robert Paul Forte was born in Revere, Massachusetts on February 14, 1932, to Achille Forte and Julia Frangipane Forte. The oldest of three boys, Bobby started working at the local drugstore when he was 11, played the trumpet, excelled at shortstop, and was a top student at Revere High School. He graduated from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy before becoming one of 36 dental graduates in the inaugural class of the Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry in 1960 (now Rutgers School of Dental Medicine). In 1962, the now Dr. Forte began what would be a thriving 55 year dental practice in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Well-respected by his colleagues, he was a member of the New York Academy of Dentistry, the Fellowship of the International College of Dentists, and served as President of the Bergen County Dental Association and as Editor of the Journal of the New Jersey Dental Association. In the office by 7:00 am, he treated generations of families and loved his patients: they were often a captive audience for his stories about golf, skiing, his travels to Italy, and later, his Vermont garden, or the recent adventures of his beloved grandchildren.

Early in his dental career, Dr. Forte began investing in real estate. He was self-taught, self-directed, and focused — abilities that he used in every aspect of his life — and over the years, his sideline turned into a substantial portfolio of almost a dozen residential, commercial, and professional buildings in Northern New Jersey and Atlanta.

A competitive golfer who won many tournaments, Bob was a devoted student of the game. He was a member of the Hackensack Golf Club for over 40 years. Always an active participant, he ran many tournaments, was Chairman of the Golf Committee, Co-chairman of the Rules and Ethics Committee, and a member of the Board of Trustees. He was a past president and a member emeritus of the New Jersey Seniors Golf Association, as well as a member of the Course Rating Committee of the Metropolitan Golf Association. In 2019, the Hackensack Golf Club renamed a Senior Member-Guest tournament in his honor. He loved to play courses all over the country, and his grandchildren often joked that no matter where you drove with Grampy, he could find a golf course he played and an Italian restaurant within five miles. Bob relished his annual summer golf outings in Vermont with his close friends, and his many trips to Ireland and Scotland.

Like golf, Bob took up skiing in his mid thirties. He and his family skied all over New England until choosing Wilmington, Vermont as the place for a second home. They spent many winter weekends at the “A” frame, skiing with other families and friends at Mt. Snow and Haystack, and he took annual trips out West and to Europe. In 1985, Bob, now a young grandfather, built a house on Top of Hill Road in Wilmington and began to spend weekends there year round.

In his early 60’s, he decided to start a “little” garden on the side of the hill where a swing set used to be. What began as a small collection of flowering plants, and a modest goal to be included on the Wilmington Garden Tour, became what has now been called the fourth largest perennial garden in Vermont and a permanent spot on the Wilmington Garden Tour. Completely self designed, he was honored when his garden was included in the prestigious national Garden Conservancy Open Days event in 2012. He described it in the tour catalog as “The North Forte is filled with classic perennials and shrubs, native Vermont bluestone walls, and striking architectural elements. Stroll the paths along the two waterfalls and koi ponds and continue over the garden bridge while viewing the Knot Garden. Continue through the garden gate to the roses and hydrangeas to the pergola and the Sculpture Garden”. His newest addition was the design and installation of a garden railroad, complete with lights and intricate replicas of local Wilmington landmarks along the tracks. Bob opened his home and garden annually to host fundraisers for local charities, including this past July, which raised funds for CoVid relief in the Wilmington community.

Proud of his Italian heritage, he traveled to Italy more than 20 times, once on his own with four of his grandchildren, and the last time in 2013 with his four adult children. He was close to his children, a generous and attentive father, and he loved his daughter-in-law Kathy as if she were one of his own. Bob and his younger brother Bill were devoted to each other. Born just a year apart, they were loyal and loving brothers, inseparable for more than 87 years.

There was nothing that gave Bob more joy than his favorite role as Grampy, The Gramps, or The Old Gramps. He was thrilled to become a great-grandfather and joked that he had thought nothing could be better than grandchildren until he had great-grandchildren. Grampy called each of his 9 grandchildren often, never missed a birthday or a chance to support them in their myriad pursuits. He was their biggest fan and they knew he loved them unconditionally.

Generous in thought and deed, Bob was truly a self made man. He leaves a legacy of a life well-lived and a profound love for his family and friends.

Robert Forte was preceded in death in January by his wife, Mary; his parents; his brother, Richard; and his Aunt Mary Lanzo. He is survived by: his daughter Jeanne Marie; his sons Robert Paul, John Michael and wife Kathy, and David Christopher; his brother Bill and wife Peg; his grandchildren Diana, Caitlin, Charlie, Vanessa, Mircea, Jake, Ben, Sophie, and Will; his great-grandchildren Teddie, Ramona, George, and Margaux; his step-daughters Kara Sweet Klose and husband Jim, Kim Sweet Bonney and husband Scott, and Allison Sweet Posternock and husband Dan; his step-grandchildren Cory, Ian, Sawyer, Josh, and Mia. He is also survived by his business partner and first wife Diana Rossetti, nieces Mary and Julie, nephews Billy and Edward, several cousins and many friends.

A Virtual Service will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 11:00 am (EST). To attend, please register for the service by Friday, November 20 by logging on to:

Memorial contributions may be made to The Rotary Club of the Deerfield Valley, Post Office Box 542, West Dover, Vermont 05356.


  • The Rotary Club of the Deerfield Valley



Dr. Robert Paul Forte

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gus DeMaggio

20 November 2020

To all the Fortes: I share the grief the Forte family is experiencing on Bob's passing. He was a valued and dedicated friend to me and my family for 70 years. There were lots of laughs and lots of tears. I will miss his frequent phone conversations and occasional visits--they were always enjoyable and uplifting. Rest in peace my friend.

John Barna

18 November 2020

I lived in Ridgewood, N.J.,in the mid 60's for 15 months. During my days in Ridgewood I became a friend of Bob. Of the many friends we had there he stood out in most respects. That friendship continued over the years even when I moved to CA. We managed to get together as we respectively played in each other's country club tournaments. We moved back to Darien, Ct.,, and got to see Bob more often. He invited us to visit he & Mary at his home in Vermont. We loved those visits.

Although our contacts became less frequent in later years our friendship never diminished. In fact the bond became stronger and more appreciated as time went on. He was a true and cherished friend whose memory will never be forgotten.

Doug Pearl

14 November 2020

My deepest condolences for the loss of a truly great man. My prayers 🙏 to my 40 year friend John and to the entire extended family.

Doug Pearl

Peter Frank

13 November 2020

November 12, 2020

Dear Bob,
Even though our Friendship was not a lifetime - I felt it was - with our weekly calls, or your buying lunch at Hackensack Golf Club, or the like ( It was my turn to pay- you remember?)
I will never forget our relationship- from golf to trains and all good things - like Sports and Real Estate - most anything plus kindness for our trips to anywhere - meeting your family ( The Boys) I really enjoyed, and You and I winning Low Gross at the Hackensack Golf Club tournament.
Meeting “ The Guys” again at the Christmas party all these things - from Pro- Mike and Dennis and other friends I knew!
The Christmas party was always a plus. Thank you again my Friend!

Peter F.


Dear Bob I will miss you
Wherever you may be
This happening was not expected
So soon between you and me.

I’m sorry I warned you so often
about “Don’t fall” most seriously
It was my experience that you could fall, though, look what it did to me.

But we had fun and had big laughs
As soon as our meeting s begun
Where “ should we go” “I don’t know”
But mostly at the club.

My golfing days are over
Bobs “quitting days” just begun
He never gave in to leaving the game
Or find another one.

So “Goodbye “ my Friend
I’ll say “Arrivederci” for now
See you in our next life
Whenever we meet somehow.

Your Old Friend,

Peter F.

Donald Conway

12 November 2020

Donald Conway

12 November 2020

Donald Conway

12 November 2020

Donald Conway

12 November 2020

Donald Conway

12 November 2020

As a dentist, he was the best. As a friend, he was even better. He enriched the lives of his countless friends. Ginny and I are proud to be included. Rest in peace Bob for a job well done. Don & Ginny

Bob Bagdasarian

11 November 2020

I called Bob earlier this year to chat, and mentioned that our current dentist in the Boston area ,where we now reside after many years in Ridgewood NJ., was highly complimentary of Bob extensive dental work , including 2 large bridges which Bob had created and installed 40 years ago. I shall never forget his heartfelt reply: " you made my day". To me, his comment reflected his strong professional pride , as well as warm memories of our long association and friendship which "made my day" as well. Bob Bagdasarian, Winchester, Mass.