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Harmon Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Robert J. Wilson

September 13, 1944October 10, 2020

Robert J. (Bob) Wilson, 76, passed away suddenly on Saturday October 10, 2020. He is greatly missed by his wife, Harriet Friedman-Wilson, son Matthew, daughter Melinda, son-in-law George Chedzhemov and grandson Benjamin. He is also survived by his sister Patricia Gawarkiewicz, brother-in-law Charles, Jill and Thomas Kwatkoski, Chuck Gawarkiewicz and Erin O’Connor, and their families, as well as numerous cousins, old and new. Born in Travis, Staten Island, a place that always held a special place in his heart, to Helen Rybicki and John Wilson in 1944, he could often be found walking and taking photos of the evolving town. If you were lucky enough to have run into him, he was likely to have photos for you from previous walks, and would always take time to chat with old friends. Bob was a Vietnam veteran and worked for the City of New York in Child Protective Services for 36 years. Bob’s love of photography has left us with a treasure of photographs for which we will forever be grateful. Following his retirement, he became the family genealogist, finally accomplishing his father’s wish of locating his long lost sister’s family. He wove his new-found family into his life just as he had with so many. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to Team Trevor/ Christmas in July Toy Drive, P.O Box 64, Bayville, NJ 08721 Please join us in celebrating Bob’s much too short life on Sunday October 18, 2020 at Harmon’s Funeral Home, from 2-5pm.

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Sunday, October 18, 2020

Memories

Robert J. Wilson

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Gus (Bill) Smarsch

October 16, 2020

Dear Harriet
Please accept my sympathy to you and your family for the passing of Bob. My name is Bill ”Gus” Smarsch and I live in Michigan. I grew up in Travis and Bob was one of my best friends. We spent a lot of time together in the 60s and 70s (before and after his tour to Vietnam). Bob along with my cousin Larry Capelli made a few trips to see me at Villanova in Philadelphia and then during the summer of 1971 the three of us took a trip out west to National Parks and California in our “renovated” VW bus which we called Brown Sugar. While there we picked up our friend Johnny Opulski in LA. I have not lived on Staten Island since college. The last time I saw Bob was about 15 years ago when I was there for a Travis 4th of July parade. Here is a picture of me (on the left) and my cousin Larry with Bob at that time. Bob inspired me to take up photography which I did. He was a great guy who was intelligent, kind and a wonderful sense of humor. I am very saddened to hear of his passing especially at such a young age. I am grateful to have known Bob.

Catherine “Casey” Zahn

October 15, 2020

My sincerest condolences...He will be missed by his genealogy friends.
I first met Bob about 11 years when I presented at the Ocean County Genealogy Society meeting. He was the big kid at the back of the class- always smiling and making everyone around him laugh. I will think fondly of him and the meetings where we laughed as well as discussed genealogy strategies and ideas.
Please keep a cherished memory of him close to your hearts in the coming days and know that he touched many lives with his huge smile and kindness.

Linda Aspinall Nebel

October 15, 2020

I knew you from Travis. You had the best laugh, smile and personality. We communicated while you were in Vietnam as many did. I am sure you lifted up many fellow vets with your presence while being a medic. You were truly a kind soul so I wasn’t surprised to read about your career choice. You will be missed by so many. My sincere condolences to your family. Linda Aspinall Nebel.

Deborah Lawton

October 13, 2020

I am so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He was a much loved member of the Ocean County Genealogical Society and always made us laugh with his wonderful sense of humor. On behalf of all his fellow OCGS genies I wish to send my love and thoughts to his friends and family. He will be in our prayers.

Debbie Lawton
President
Ocean County Genealogical Society

Deborah Fox

October 13, 2020

Bob had two special gifts, both gifts of giving to others. The first was the gift of attention that he gave to every personal encounter. Bob made each person feel as if they, and what they were saying, mattered--no checking his watch or looking around. The second gift Bob gave to others, especially to those of us in his South Jersey genealogy group, was the gift of story. His storytelling was entertaining and heartwarming, human and always kind. Oh, he brought another gift to our meetings--the yummiest dessert trays that he made a special stop to buy on his long ride to Voorhees NJ. Bob was a blessing to me and to all in our group.

Rose Schecter

October 13, 2020

May you find peace knowing Bob's light has touched us all and will continue to shine through every life he touched. "Do not think of me as gone, I'm still with you in each new dawn". Words are not enough, Bob will be missed and remembered. Cherish the memories and joy he brought into our lives. xoxo

Susan Powell

October 13, 2020

Dear Wilson Family,
Sending you thoughts and prayers at this sad time. I knew Bob through our monthly Genealogy group, which since Covid has continued to meet via Zoom. Bob was such a big personality and added so much just by his mere presence. He was always smiling, and such a great story-teller. I remember the excitement and twinkle in his eye when he related how he’d found his other cousins. What a void he leaves! Our loss is heaven’s gain.
In Sympathy,
Susan

Mastrandrea Family

October 12, 2020

We were lucky enough to have Bob as our neighbor and friend for the 20 years that we have lived in Staten Island. He was the best neighbor anyone could have. Bob was usually busy working on the house or in the yard but always had time to talk! We have enjoyed many funny conversations and he was a wealth of information. He was the first out to shovel on any snow day and always took care of everyone’s walkway. We have so many wonderful photos of our family taken by Bob throughout the years. He was the heart of our block and such a wonderful person. Our hearts are broken and he will be deeply missed. Rest In Peace Bob.

Linda J Barnes

October 12, 2020

Dear Wilson Family,

We are so tremendously shocked and saddened to hear this news of wonderful Bob! We met him ages ago when he joined the Ocean County Genealogical Society in Toms River. Bob was always a ray of sunshine at meetings and we all sure missed him when he was not able to attend. We were always amazed that he would travel to meetings all the way from Staten Island and several years ago even gave him an award for the member who travelled the farthest for our meetings.

During his absence and then later the society hiatus due to the pandemic, Bob still kept in touch with my husband and I, sharing our grandchildren's photos, stories and yes grandparenting advice, genealogy information, jokes and cartoons. Bob had the biggest heart of gold. Everyone loved Bob and his loss is felt by all who had the privilege to know him. May the good Lord bless and wrap Mrs. Wilson and all Bob's loved ones with His comfort. You all are in our prayers.

With deepest sympathy and love,
Linda & Tony Barnes

Tony & Linda J Barnes

October 12, 2020

Dear Wilson Family,

We are so tremendously shocked and saddened to hear this news of wonderful Bob! We met him ages ago when he joined the Ocean County Genealogical Society in Toms River. Bob was always a ray of sunshine at meetings and we all sure missed him when he was not able to attend. We were always amazed that he would travel to meetings all the way from Staten Island and several years ago we even gave him an award for the member who travelled the farthest for our meetings.

During his absence and then later the society hiatus due to the pandemic, Bob still kept in touch with my husband and me, sharing our grandchildren's photos, stories and yes grandparenting advice, genealogy information, jokes and cartoons. Bob had the biggest heart of gold. Everyone loved Bob and his loss is felt by all who had the privilege to know him. May the good Lord bless and wrap his dear wife and all his loved ones with His comfort. You all are in our prayers.

With deepest sympathy and love,
Linda & Tony Barnes

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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