July 6 2016

Obituary: Veteran, Former Selectman, Family Man Robert "Bob" Roberto, 84


Burlington has lost one of its highly accomplished residents who was dedicated to improving the community. 

Robert J. “Bob” Roberto, veteran and past Burlington Selectman, passed away after a long illness on Monday morning, July 4, 2016. He was 84 years old.  

Here is his full obituary from Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home

Bob was born in Boston, the son of the late Samuel and Louise Roberto. He grew up in Winchester in a family steep in Italian values and heritage.  Bob was a 1949 graduate of Winchester High School.  He then earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Northeastern University and participated in their ROTC program.  

After college, he enlisted in the Army during the end of the Korean War and the beginning of the Vietnam War.  

After his military service he eventually took a position with MITRE as a Budget Administrator.  Over the next 32 years he continually rose in MITRE’s ranks to the point he became the Director of Corporate Security for the entire MITRE Corporation.  Bob did quite a lot of work with the Air Force and would fly weekly to Washington DC to have meetings at the Pentagon.  Bob had a very approachable mannerism along with business savvy that made him well liked and respected by his associates.  He traveled all around the world on MITRE’s behalf.  At his retirement, numerous countries along with military gave him appreciation gifts and tokens such as a piece of the Berlin Wall, a KGB Watch, citations, and proclamations.  He had the great fortune to meet presidents including John F. Kennedy, George Bush and George W. Bush, Admirals, Generals, and numerous dignitaries. He had a very distinguished career, but was very humble and reticent about his many accomplishments.  

Bob was very active resident in the community of Burlington, which he had made his home since 1959.  He served on numerous town boards including the Personnel Board for 7 years and 9 years as a member of the Board of Selectmen.  He served as Chairperson of the Selectmen and Bob part of the group who convinced the Lahey Clinic to move to Burlington.  He was very active in the Burlington Knight of Columbus being part of the founding members of the Burlington Council, being a Third and Fourth Degree member, and serving on the Board of Directors.  He coached Little League and Babe Ruth and assisted youth hockey in their fundraising activities.  Bob was a past member of the Sons of Italy.  Burlington held a very important place in his heart and was proud to be a resident and have been part of its growth over the 67 years.  

Bob learned at a very young age that values of hard work, honesty, being forthright, community, integrity, and above all that family came first. It was these values and traditions, which he learned at a young age, which guided Bob during his life.  He was so respectful and supportive of his parents.  Throughout his parents’ lives, Sunday dinners were a must, holidays, and daily chats were the routine.  When they aged, he continued those traditions with his children.  He was best friends with his brother Sam.  They did everything together, loved to talk and reminisce, and had an intense brotherly bond.  As a father and grandfather he was the rock and a role model upon whom his family looked to and relied upon.  He was the one whom they would ask guidance from.   

Bob took great pride in his home, maintaining the grass, pool, flower gardens, and landscape with meticulousness detail.   His home was the gathering spot for his family, his friends, and his children’s friends. Bob had a great love for his late wife, Claire.  They enjoyed raising their family, seeing the grandkids grow up, and spending their retirement years wintering in Florida.  He was “Papa” to his grandchildren and was called “Papa Bear”, “Bear”, and jokingly “The Great One” by his great grandchildren. Bob shared his Italian traditions and his values with all his family and was so happy to see that the torch has continued from his generation to the next.

Bob was the beloved husband of the late Claire (Burke).  Loving father of William & his wife Mary of Billerica, Lisa Runyan & her husband Michael of Burlington, Susan Schmidt of Haverhill, Sandra O ‘Doherty & her late husband David of Burlington, and Richard & his wife Maria of Burlington.  Brother of the late Samuel Roberto & his wife Lucy of Woburn and Elizabeth McDermottroe & her husband James of Billerica.  Brother-in-law of the late Jean Harris & her husband John of CT.  Proud grandfather of Nicole, Robert, & Michael Runyan; Cherilyn Roberto; Kerri Schmidt; Shannon, Daniel, and the late Casey O’Doherty; and Christina, Julia, & Nicholas Roberto.  Great grandfather of Robert Noorigian and Jack & Samantha Runyan.


Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (Exit 34 off Rt. 128, Woburn side) on Friday, July 8 at 9 a.m.  Followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at 10 a.m.  Visiting hours Thursday 4-8 p.m.  Interment in Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Burlington.  Memorials in Bob’s name may be made to the Kaplan Family Hospice House, 75 Sylvan St., Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923.

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