Robert Henry Salucci, age 86, died at Hope Hospice in Cape Coral, Florida on Sunday, September 16, 2018.
Born January 19, 1932 in Manhattan, New York, to Louise Fisher and Oddo Salucci, Rob was raised in Brooklyn, NY with his sisters, Florence and Claire. He spent summers in rural Cochecton on his uncle’s 100-acre farm feeding pigs, chickens and cows, gathering eggs and weeding the garden. When not doing chores, he was found reading in the barn hayloft. In NY city he played hooky from school “a lot” to visit the city’s great museums.
Rob joined the Army at 17, was sent to Germany where he worked as a radio operator and rode a scooter named “Porky.” He was also a paratrooper and later worked for the US Constabulary that was established in 1947 in Germany. Rob married Ro Corticchia in Manhattan in 1953. They raised three children: Lauren Denise, born in NY; Robert Jr., born in Oklahoma; and Phillip James, born in Germany.
From Langendiebach, Germany Rob moved his family to Fort Bliss, Texas where they ate Mexican food and watched Bonanza. Several years later the family moved to Maryland where they lived in a historic inn with an attached schoolhouse. It was built on the Susquehanna river in the 18th century in Havre de Grace. A year later the family moved into a house which was partly built in 1775 on 3 acres in Aberdeen. He bought it for $13,000. At that house he researched the history of Harford County, MD. From MD the family settled in Simi Valley, California. Rob was a technical writer through most of his civilian working life. He moved from Westlake Village, CA to northern CA where he attended Feather River College. Divorced from Ro, he married Nancy Appling in Siskiyou County, CA in 1978.
He and Nancy lived in Gazelle, CA. They built a house with an attached greenhouse on a ranch with two Norwegian Fjord horses, chickens, Daisy the cow, pigs and a half-acre garden. He worked as a fire-fighter for the US Forest Service in Siskiyou National Forest and did tower duty looking for “smokes.” When he and Nancy divorced in 1996, he moved to Florida.
Rob traveled extensively throughout Europe, back-packed the John Muir Trail, completely rebuilt a Fiat X1/9 to a “virtual baby Ferrari” and sold it for a substantial sum. In Florida he lived on a sailboat for 8 years. During that time he was a computer instructor on Sanibel Island. Rob shared his remaining life with Wendy Wilderman. He completed his Memoirs in 2014.
Rob enjoyed reading, singing and listening to music, antiquing, story-telling and driving his Alfa Romeo & German Borgwards. He owned three Borgwards in the US and one of the very few, if any, VWs in Oklahoma in 1955. Rob also enjoyed visiting botanic gardens, touring Europe, wood carving, making furniture and jewelry, hiking, mountain climbing in the Sierra Nevada mountains and dining at fine restaurants. He spoke German and Spanish. All who knew him well knew he hated lima beans. And everyone knew him as a gentle man.
Survivors include his daughter, Lauren McCoy, sons, Robert Jr. and Phil Salucci; grandchildren, Alex Rexford, Natalie and Rachel Salucci; great grandsons, Isaac and Benjamin Rexford; his longtime companion, Wendy Wilderman; and his dear cousin, Rita Crimi.
A favorite saying of Rob’s: Old sailors never die…they just get a little dinghy.
Rob will be especially remembered for his story-telling, sense of humor and gentle nature.
Thank you to the staff at Hope Hospice and Baldwin Brothers for their caring attention to Rob.