Obituaries: Robert Bianchi

It is with extreme sadness that we announce the passing of Robert ‘Bob’ Bianchi on January 13, 2017 at UConn Health after a short illness. He leaves his wife of 50 years, Jeannette (Leclair) Bianchi; his son Jeffrey and his wife Maria of Greenwich; and his daughter Joy Savulak and her husband Stephen of Woodbury. He was a proud grandfather to Owen, Nicholas and Gianluca Bianchi and to Katherine, Samantha, and William Savulak. Bob also leaves a sister, Nancy Turski; a niece, Traci Sheintop; a grandniece; and many cousins and friends. Bob was the son of Domenick and Maria (Callini) Bianchi, Italian immigrants who came to America in 1937 seeking a better life. He was born in Bristol in April, 1938 and resided in the city’s Forestville section. As a youngster he enjoyed day-long bike rides, hiking the blue trail with friends, Lake Compounce, fishing at Pine Lake, and adventure movies sponsored by the Boys Club at the Forestville firehouse. Young Bob developed an interest in mechanics, electricity and chemistry. Fascinated with how things worked, he disassembled numerous items but often struggled to return them to their original function, a problem that inevitably became a challenge for his father to solve. His “electrical experiments” were reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein’s and were notable for intermittent flashes of blinding light accompanied by loud buzzing and blown fuses. As a consequence of several notable shocks, he abruptly ended the experiments in fear of electrocution. One Christmas he was ecstatic to receive a chemistry set. Unfortunately, some of young Robert’s experiments strayed from the direction manual and resulted in periodic explosions of apparatus (mostly contained). Although there was no appreciable damage, Bob sustained several scars as “badges of research”. His parents indicated that it was truly a trying time for both themselves and the neighbors. An Army veteran, he trained at Ordinance Guided Missile School and transferred to Germany with Ordinance Company 333 Arty. Group (Redstone) where was assigned to a contact team consisting of electronics (Bob), propulsion, and warhead specialists who accompanied and supported the firing battery to a proposed launch site. The U.S. Army Field Manual strictly prohibited any mechanical, electrical or chemical alteration of Redstone, a nearly 65-foot tall mobile nuclear missile. Fortunately for Bob and society, those stringent guidelines potentially prevented a major international incident! With his love of chemistry and drive to help others, it’s little wonder that Bob became a licensed pharmacist (RPh.). He attended UConn School of Pharmacy where he was a member of the Phi Delta Chi professional fraternity and the Phi Chi Alpha social fraternity. In the early 80’s he earned a master’s degree in Public Health at the UConn Health Center. Early in his career he was employed by several local independent retail pharmacies where he met his future wife, Jeannette. Subsequently, he was employed by Bristol Hospital, a career choice he found most challenging and in 1980 became Director of Pharmacy. The September 1998 issue of Drug Topics Magazine counted the Bristol Hospital pharmacy among the four best hospital pharmacies in CT. Bob was an Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor at the UConn School of Pharmacy with oversight for student rotations at the hospital. Upon his retirement, Bob became the Director of Pharmacy at Stamford Hospital. He was a member of The Connecticut Society of Health Systems Pharmacists and was honored with the society’s “Innovative Practice Award” in 1984 and the coveted Paul Pierapoli Award in 2003. He served on the board of directors of the UCONN Pharmacy Alumni Association. Bob also served on the Professional Advisory Committee of VNA HealthCare, he was a commissioner for the Bristol Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and was a Bristol Hospital Corporator. A faithful member of St. Gregory the Great, Bob was a former member of The First Litchfield Artillery, an avid reader, photographer, and UConn fan. He enjoyed fly fishing and was challenged by his grandsons to see who would catch the biggest (the kids usually won). He enjoyed fine wines, researching family history, and was VP of Caspano Club in Springfield, MA — a yearly gathering of descendants of immigrants from his family’s village in Northern Italy. Bob created to share his heritage with younger generations. He treasured his children and grandchildren and enjoyed gatherings at home and Cape Cod. Known for his smile, Bob always stood up for what was in the best interest of his family, the community, his patients, employees and students. He instilled in his kids a strong sense of altruism and taught them by example to do the right thing for others. Relatives and friends are invited to call at Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol, CT 06010 on Friday (Jan. 20, 2017) between 4 and 8 PM. Funeral services will continue Saturday morning (Jan. 21, 2017) beginning at Funk Funeral Home with relatives and friends gathering between 9:30 and 10:30 AM followed by a procession to St. Gregory Church, 235 Maltby St., Bristol, where A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 AM. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, Bristol. Bob continues to help others; In lieu of flowers, he has requested that donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the American Heart Association, or the UConn School of Pharmacy Dean’s Fund. We love you, Dad.  Please visit Bob’s memorial website at