Robert J. Gaites

Passed away on October 21, 2011

Robert J. Gaites, 70, of Todt Hill, a retired construction executive who is remembered for his singular moral compass, commitment to his community and his ready wit, died yesterday at home.

Born and raised in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, Mr. Gaites moved to Staten Island in 1970. He lived in several Island communities before settling in Todt Hill 10 years ago.

In 1975, shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree from St. Francis College in Brooklyn, Mr. Gaites struck out on his own as one of the founding principals of the Strober Organization. His new building supply company, Strober Brothers, was based in Brooklyn and grew quickly, going public in 1991.

The company went private again in 1997, when it was renamed ProBuild. Today ProBuild, which sells construction materials to professional contractors, employs 10,000 people at 450 locations nationwide and is the largest building supply company of its kind in the country. Mr. Gaites retired from ProBuild in January 2008.

He used his business acumen while serving on the boards of Carmel Richmond Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, the Staten Island Mental Health Society, and Project Hospitality. In 2009, Project Hospitality recognized Mr. Gaites and his wife, Carolyn, with the Sophie Matthews Memorial Award for Volunteer Service.

He was a former board member of Staten Island University Hospital and a former trustee of Our Lady Star of the Sea R.C. Church, Huguenot.

Mr. Gaites loved to hit the links at the Richmond County Country Club in Dongan Hills, where he was also a member, and he was often known for the pithy, witty sayings he dispensed to friends and family.

“Everybody remembers his ‘Bobisms.’ It meant a lot to people that he had these ready-made sayings for them,’” recalled his wife, the former Carolyn Campbell.

And Mr. Gaites lived by his words.

“He had a very, very strong moral compass, a very strong sense of right and wrong,” his wife said.

Surviving, in addition to Carolyn, his wife of 42 years, are his son, Robert C.; his brother, Jack; his sister, Elizabeth McGlyn, and two grandchildren.

The funeral will be Monday from the Casey Funeral Home, Castleton Corners, with a mass at 9:45 a.m. in St. Clare’s R.C. Church, Great Kills. Burial will follow in Resurrection Cemetery, Pleasant Plains.

Arrangements under the direction of Casey Funeral Home, Staten Island, NY.


  • Visitation Sunday, October 23, 2011
  • Visitation Sunday, October 23, 2011
  • Funeral Service Monday, October 24, 2011

Robert J. Gaites

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Sarina Torres

November 12, 2011

Mr Gaites I will miss you dearly, my guardian angel, my father figure, and the way you called me Ponce. Because of you Made me strong and who I am today you will be in my heart forever.

Joan/Bob Lindsey

October 26, 2011

Bob and I were saddened to hear of Bobby's passing. We will always remember the time we spent at your home with you both, Bethann, Roddy and McCauley Ann. We remember a nice dinner with cousins and much laughter. Our thoughts are with. Love, Joan and Bob

October 23, 2011

"I will always remember Bob's smile, laughter and love of family, life and friendship". Mike Taliercio

Peter Maniscalco

October 22, 2011

I will always remeber the moring walk with Bob,the Board meetings and the supper club dinners. Bob was a true gentelman.