Robert Peter LaRosa
April 21, 1926 – November 7, 2022
Robert Peter LaRosa, (Bob), 96.5 years young of Hingham, MA passed peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Monday, November 7, 2022. He was born in Belmont, MA in 1926 to Rosario and Pietrina (Sottile) LaRosa and grew up there with his brother Sam. His parents immigrated from Sicily to America in 1912.
He attended public schools in Belmont and turned 18 during the height of the Second World War. He enlisted in the Army/Air force and was sent to Biloxi, Mississippi for basic training. He served in the China, Burma and India theatre during World War II, as a Ball Turret gunner on a B-17, in the 25th Fighter Squadron. In India, Allied troops were preparing for a major land assault on Japan, but as luck would have it, the war ended in August, 1945 and he returned home. Like many other children of immigrants, he defended and fought for the ideals of democracy in America and abroad. Upon returning from war using his GI bill benefits, he studied at Northeastern University in Boston. He was a practical man who worked hard to accentuate his Americanness; he spoke Italian at home, and English in the streets and graduated with a degree in business administration from Northeastern.
Bob’s generation believed in government, they defended democracy and they certainly believed society could and would improve because they worked daily to make it improve.
Bob had many friends from his high school and college years and just a few months ago, his life-long friend Robert “Red” Conlon passed away and I know it saddened Bob. Red, up until about a year ago, would drive from Dorchester to Hingham to sit and visit with my Dad and these were moments that show that friendship endures – sometimes for more than 80 plus years.
He met his wife, Barbara Marie Kavanaugh, at Raytheon Corporation in Quincy, MA. They married in Quincy at St. John’s Catholic Church sixty six years ago on October 27, 1956. Bob worked in sales most of his career and was an extremely successful businessman because he was unfailingly honest, he was fiercely loyal and responsible and if he said he’d do something, he did it. His customers trusted him, completely.
Bob was very focused on education and insisted that his children continue studying – he understood, from his own reality, that education is a key to securing a more prosperous future. He did many nice things for his kids: He co-signed a loan with his eldest son which set him up to become a mini real estate magnate here in Massachusetts. He loved Boston College and was very proud that his daughter earned two degrees from that school in Chestnut Hill; he supported his youngest son’s wanderings around the USA and South America, and was so proud when he earned his PhD in Latin American history.
He was especially proud of the three grandkids with whom he spent the final fourteen years of his life, living under the same roof in Hingham. They went from little kids to adults really fast and he was nearby to witness it all and attended their birthday parties, graduations and was happiest when they were around – when he could talk about them and their accomplishments.
Bob was an excellent reader – he kept a long journal of the books read over the years and he was an avid sports fans, especially focused on baseball and the Boston Red Sox. He also loved the Celtics and Bruins, Patriots and all teams from Boston College.
During the early days of 2012, his wife died and Bob couldn’t – and never tried to – hide his sadness; we were all deeply hurt by her passing but Bob had been with her, continuously, since the mid-1950s. What saved his life, of course, was his daughter and her husband Greg, and their children. They fully integrated him into their world and he could only be a little lonely amidst so much chaos! They say if you’re fortunate enough to have a daughter you’ll live longer and boy he certainly lived a long life, a life that was extended and improved thanks to his being able to live at 99 Manatee Rd. in Hingham.
His final day was, as he requested: at home, not in a hospital, not in distress, at peace and under the care of his daughter and her family and it’s the way most of us would prefer to pass from this world to the next one.
Bob is survived by his sons, Robert Paul and Michael James, his daughter, Patricia Ann, son-in-law, Gregory Nash, and grandchildren, Michael Robert, Katherine Mary and Robert Joseph, along with his much loved yellow lab, Rosie. He was predeceased by his wife, Barbara, and his brother, Samuel LaRosa.
A funeral Mass will be Monday in the Church of the Resurrection, Hingham at 10 AM. Burial with Military Honors in St. Paul’s Cemetery, Hingham. Anyone wishing to donate in Bob’s memory, donations may be made to: Catholic Charities of Boston, ccab.org; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, stjude.org; or Samaritans, samaritanshope.org