OBITUARY: Robert A. DeSantis, 82

Below is an obituary from Nichols Funeral Home:

WILMINGTON, MA — Robert A. DeSantis, “Bob”, age 82, of Andover, formerly of Winthrop and later Wilmington, passed away peacefully on July 1, 2022 at home, surrounded by his wife and five children. Bob was the beloved husband of 56 years to Emily R. (Taiani) DeSantis, devoted father of Robert DeSantis & his wife Jennifer of Andover, Anthony DeSantis & his wife Michelle of North Andover, Carla DeSantis of Boston, Gina Wodarski & her husband James of Andover, and David DeSantis & his wife Megan of Ridgewood, NJ; loving “Papa” of Michael, Adriana, Ava, Charles, Elena, James, Elizabeth, Grace, Jack, Patrick and Luke; cherished son of the late Henry and Teresa (Caprio) DeSantis; and dear brother of Henry DeSantis of Danvers, Nancy Ciccone of Peabody, the late Mildred Thiboutot, Connie Giordano, and Gloria DeSantis. Bob is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Born in Portland, Maine, Bob attended Cheverus High School, a Jesuit school, where he was the 1958 Class President and a leader on the varsity football and basketball teams. Bob also began working at a young age as a caddy, and that is when he began his lifelong love of golf. Bob went on to graduate from Northeastern University, with a degree in electrical engineering. For almost 50 years thereafter, Bob was known as the President of Omni-Lite, where he enjoyed being a leader in his industry. Bob had a way of building relationships and connecting with others, always earning his way into a room, but “never afraid to ask for the order.” He achieved much success and had a hand in some of the most notable and historical landmarks across the country, including providing commercial lighting for the TD Garden and Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Bob loved sports and was a dedicated Boston sports fan, tolerating many years of mediocrity and later reveling in the Boston sports dynasties that followed. He shared that love with his children, and was known for coaching them in sports during their early years, most notably in basketball. Bob ‘retired’ arguably with the best win/loss record in the history of the Wilmington Recreation Basketball League (both girls and boys). Bob was also an avid golfer himself. He always looked forward to spending time “at the club,” socializing with his long-time friends and making new friends, of all ages.

Bob was most known for his love of his wife, Emily, and his five children. Bob and Emily sacrificed for their family together, performing many household “jobs,” from home improvements to landscaping. Yet, Bob always found time for fun and relished any family event. To know Bob was to know his family, particularly his children, whom he richly shared details about with anyone he met. That is, of course, until his grandchildren arrived. Every grandchild was special to him and he extended the same love he showered on his kids to his grandkids, proudly sharing their achievements. Aged 1 to 22, Bob’s grandchildren loved and cherished their “Papa.” Papa was a regular fixture at their games, concerts, recitals, plays and other events, where the other children/parents affectionately referred to him as “Papa” as well and always looked for him. Bob was kind and encouraging, and made a lasting impression, especially on his grandkids.

Bob was a man of deep faith, leaning on and demonstrating his Catholic religion throughout his life. Bob had a patient and positive disposition, and always strove to do the right thing. He was known for saying, “if you are going to do something, do it 100%.” His fortitude of spirit came through in all that he did, from work to sports to his family, and Bob was a role model to many others. He will always be remembered for the life that he lived to the fullest. Bob most certainly earned his wings and the privilege to be with God in peace.

Family and friends will gather for Visiting Hours at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave., (Rte. 62), Wilmington on Wednesday, July 6th from 4:00-8:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, on Thursday, July 7th at 10:00 a.m. followed by his interment in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. After the interment, friends and family are welcome to a reception in honor of Bob at the Andover Country Club, located at 60 Canterbury St., Andover, MA.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Bob’s memory to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Robert A. DeSantis

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