VICENZA, Italy – Community members at U.S. Army Garrison Italy said farewell to a Robert Generelli, who died Feb. 27 at age 95.
Known as Bob to friends, Generelli passed surrounded by his loving family. A loving husband, father and Soldier, he touched the lives of many people during the six decades of service to his country in both the Verona and Vicenza military communities.
Generelli served as a U.S. Army Soldier for three years. Then he spent 34 years as a teacher and principal with on-post schools. He also worked for 22 years with Family, Morale Welfare and Recreation in Youth Services and volunteered thousands of hours with Youth Sports, the Catholic Church, and to many friends.
Generelli is survived by his wife Alma, daughters Mary and Nancy, and son Paul, plus many grandsons and a granddaughter.
Bill Murphy, a lifelong friend who worked with Generelli in Verona, recalled their first meeting in 1976 at the Boscomantico mess hall in Verona. Generelli asked Murphy to place student drawings facility’s walls. Together, they taped them up.
“That was the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship that lasted almost 50 years,” Murphy said. “My life has been influenced greatly by Bob’s friendliness, compassion, and respect for others. The world is a better place because of Bob Generelli.”
Tamara Browning, Generelli’s boss at Youth Services in Verona from 2001 to 2004 recalled Generelli serving as her sponsor. She arrived the day before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“I knew immediately when he met us at the airport that he was someone very special,” Browning said. “He walked this earth with an aura of pure heart and kindness like I have never seen.”
Generelli became like a father to Browning. Her admiration, love and respect grew as time went on, she said.
“His family became like my own. I have always said that Bob Generelli is a true Saint, and I am so fortunate to call him my friend and my family,” Browning said. “His heart only knows kindness and for anyone who knows Bob you know what perfection looks like.”
Floyd C. Wilt, who was the Post Exchange manager in Verona shared a list of words and phrases that to describe Generelli; a loving person, a mentor, warm hearted, truly caring, honest, true to his word, a very good man, and always sacrificing for others.
Even those words don’t come close to describing this Generelli, whose daily actions spoke louder that any words ever could, Wilt said.
“In all my memorable years of knowing Bob – better known as Mr. G – I have never met a person that had less than kind and wonderful things to say about him,” Wilt said. “The list of truly good men has one less on it now.”
Margherita Frasson, who worked with Generelli at Youth Services on Caserma Ederle, remembered his pleasant personality, his kindness and desire to be helpful, she said.
One funny memory she recalled, while watering the plants outside their office window, she jokingly sprayed him at his desk as he wrote a letter. Surprised, he called out “Margherita! Oh boy!”
They laughed, he rewrote the letter. The next week, he got her back, spraying her through the open window as he watered the plants.
“When I looked through the window at his face, I noticed an amused twinkle in his eyes that I will never forget,” Frasson said. “We laughed a great deal.”