July 3, 1937 - April 18, 2022
CLINTON – Mr. Robert R. “Bob” Fontana, age 84, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 18, 2022, with his devoted wife and family by his side. Born in Utica on July 3, 1937, Bob was the son of the late Graziano “Roger” and Ninfa “Fanny” (Morice) Fontana. He attended St. Mary of Mt. Carmel grammar school and went on to graduate from Utica Catholic Academy. Bob further pursued his studies at Mohawk Valley Community College. On August 2, 1958, Bob married his loving wife and best friend, the former Gail V. Burlingham. The couple had a wonderfully caring relationship. Family always came first during their sixty-four years of marriage. Bob and Gail were great providers and perfect role models for their children. Their relationship was like no other—a true witness of friendship, love, and trust in the Lord. As the primary provider for his family, Bob held a variety of positions. His professional journey began as a Printed Board Foreman at UNIVAC Corp. After UNIVAC left the area, Bob worked for the McDonalds Corporation in Saratoga Springs as the Manager in the Capital Region of New York. Bob eventually decided to relocate back to the Utica area with his family in order to care for his parents; this led to a new position as a Manager of the Burger King restaurant chain in the Utica-Rome area. He was lastly employed by Hummel’s Office Equipment, a family organization, where Bob was well-suited to succeed and even became one of their top salespeople. His many talents and interpersonal decisions—his people skills, compassion for staff and customers, gentlemanly manners, and choosing to treat everyone with special care—were very appreciated in all his positions. An out-going man, Bob was known for his compassion and care for others. These earned him many lasting relationships with countless stories made along the way. He touched many lives and his legacy will not be soon forgotten. At home, that same level of love continued. Bob was a family man who was a good provider and, even more, a great dad. He instilled the virtue of compassion in his children, modeling for them how a loving heart could gain them a lifetime of friendships. Bob taught them the Golden Rule and was proud to be able to provide them with a Catholic education. For Bob, family was always his main priority. When Bob's children were small, nightly dinnertime was a must. As his family grew, weekly Sunday dinners with his children and grandchildren were essential, his family knew that 4:00 p.m. was sacred and reserved for family togetherness. Moreover, they always lived in a multi-family dwelling which provided loving support, hospitality and a sense of comfort. Once there were grandchildren, it was no surprise to those who knew Bob that he adored them. He delighted in spending quality time with them, which was even more feasible due to their living in the house together—the kids were up the stairs from their grandpa. When Bob heard his names, “Grandpa” or “Poppy,” it was music to his ears! As years passed, he always looked forward to their visits and phone calls. Golf was one of Bob’s passions, which he was so happy to share with his son Mike and grandson Dan. They loved to frequent their favorite fairways at Valley View. Bob was also honored to be a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 189 for many years. In his spare time, Bob could be found league bowling at Pin-O-Rama Lanes or participating in a friendly game of cards with friends. Bob also enjoyed monthly luncheons with lifelong friends. Each year, Bob and Gail provided for a family vacation—from when his children were young to when they could bring the grandchildren. They especially enjoyed trips to sunny Orlando, the sunshine of the Carolinas, and to Virginia Beach. Furthermore, Bob loved visiting Vernon Downs with friends for the harness racing as well as going to Saratoga for the exciting flat track racing! These family gatherings became some of the greatest memories. Bob always had a pocket full of dog biscuits. His dog, Patches and his grandchildren’s dogs, Zoey and Cooper were part of the family. Bob loved all the family pets. Being a good husband, a great father, and an invested grandfather and “Poppy” were some of Bob’s greatest life priorities. He left his family a legacy of love and blessed them with lessons on how to live life to its fullest and most loving potential. There is a unique and sincere assurance that Bob’s role as family's gentle patriarch will never be forgotten or diminished. A faithful man who was a fine example of a Christian, Bob attended Mass each week at his home parish of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Church. He instilled in his family the tradition of praying and renewing his spirit at weekly Mass, which they attended on Saturday evenings, where Bob served as an usher for several years. Bob is survived by his loving wife, Gail V.; his daughter and son-in-law, Debra and Fred DeLafleur; his son and his partner, Robert J. “Rob” Fontana and Charles A. Jones; and his son and daughter-in-law, Michael R. “Mike” and Gail A. Fontana. He leaves behind his beloved grandchildren, Alison and her husband Justin Jennings, and Daniel Fontana; and his adored great-grandson, Nathan Jennings. Bob was preceded by his brothers and sister-in-law, Charles Fontana, and Thomas and Anna Fontana. Bob will live on in the hearts of his niece and nephew, Roger and Paula Fontana, and his late niece Mary Frances Fontana; his great-nephew and great-niece, Andrew Fontana, and Meghan Fontana. Bob also was blessed with cousins who survive him as well as all who had gone before him. Bob leaves many cherished friends that he made throughout his life. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to the physicians and staff at MVHS at St. Luke’s Healthcare, who were compassionate and kind as Bob’s caregivers. Additional thanks are extended to Lauri at Lincare, who gave special attention to Bob that was so appreciated. The family will commemorate Bob’s life at a private time. In lieu of floral offerings, memorial contributions in Bob’s honor may be made to the New Hartford Fire Department—in gratitude for their personal attention and amazing support—online at http://www.nhfd.com/donate.html. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to commemorate Bob’s life at his Mass of Christian Burial and Celebration of Life on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at 12:00 noon at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Parish, 648 Jay St. There will be an opportunity to greet the family at the conclusion of services. For those who are unable to attend, the Mass will be livestreamed at https://youtube.com/c/StMaryofMountCarmelBlessedSacrament. Entombment in Calvary Mausoleum at Calvary Cemetery will be on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.
CLINTON – Mr. Robert R. “Bob” Fontana, age 84, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 18, 2022, with his devoted wife and family by his side. Born in Utica on July 3, 1937, Bob was the son of the late Graziano “Roger”... View Obituary & Service Information
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