Robert (Bob) Pelis of The Villages, FL, and formerly of Hatfield, MA, died Saturday, January 29, 2022 at the age of 72. We all hoped for Bob’s life to go into overtime, but the buzzer sounded, the game ended, and he was “called up” to a new team with his predeased family members: his father and mother, Sylvester and Tillie Pelis; and brother, David Pelis. He is survived by his loving wife Shaun; sister Joan Gaudette, and her husband, Fan of South Hadley, MA; brother Edwin Pelis of Hatfield, MA; and sister-in-law Ruth Dansereau of Holyoke, MA. The rest of his home team consists of beloved step-children, Jennifer Jenkins and Jonathon Mougin. He was a proud step-grandfather to Kenzie Jenkins, Morgan Jenkins, and Fawn Mougin and a cherished uncle to Sean Gaudette and David Pelis, Jr. He is also survived by his best friend and number one fan Greg Petitt.
A gifted student-athlete, Bob was a three-sport athlete at Smith Academy, garnering All-Western Mass accolades in all sports. He played basketball at Hofstra University and, in a memorable game, Bob guarded UMass star and eventual NBA Hall of Famer, Julius Erving. He ultimately returned to his alma mater, the smallest high school in Massachusetts, to coach basketball for two decades, becoming the winningest coach (273 wins) in Smith Academy’s storied basketball history. His teams won four Western Mass and two State Championship titles in 1989-1990 and 1991-1992. In his professional life, Bob was, for nearly three decades, the Regional Business Manager for the Department of Social Services (DSS) (DCF). Shortly after retiring, he relocated to The Villages where he embraced his passion for golf as a player and “starter” at the Havana Golf and Country Club.
With both his lifelong friends and his buddies at The Villages, Bob always went out of his way to make others smile. He was humble, caring, giving and kind to everyone. He never sought recognition, power, or influence. Bob always saw good in others and, in turn, they saw good in him. Frank Abarno, retired principal at Smith Academy and a resident of The Villages said it best: “Bob was a saint”.
A private burial will take place at the convenience of the family. Memorial contributions can be made to: Brandley House Hospice, 17395 SE 109th Terrace Road, Summerfield, FL. 34491 or Varsity Boys Basketball, Smith Academy, 34 School Street, Hatfield, MA 01038 or Dakin Humane Society, 171 Union Street, Springfield, MA 01105. Arrangements entrusted with BALDWIN BROTHERS Funeral & Cremation Society-Spanish Springs, 352-480-5959. Sentiments may be left online at www.baldwincremation.com.