Robert “Bob” James Altavilla
Robert “Bob” James Altavilla, 93, beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend, veteran, and athlete, passed peacefully to his eternal home on June 1, 2023.
Bob was born at home on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1930, in Chisholm, Minnesota, to Anthony “Tony” and Leone (Clark) Altavilla. Bob was a naturally gifted athlete from a young age and excelled in baseball and basketball. He graduated from Chisholm High School in 1948 after leading his baseball team to an undefeated season and state championship.
Bob became a student at St. Cloud State, where he was a baseball letterwinner in 1949 and 1950. He signed a baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs in 1950. He deferred college and professional baseball to join the United States Air Force, which stationed him in the United Kingdom. Bob continued to play baseball in the U.K. with the “Sky Kings” Air Force team. In London, Bob met Barbara, the love of his life, and they married on the Iron Range on June 12, 1954.
Bob returned to St. Cloud State and graduated with a teaching degree in 1956. He taught in Benson and Babbitt, Minnesota, before becoming the Athletic Director at Vermilion Community College in Ely, Minnesota. Bob taught and coached baseball and basketball at Vermilion until he retired in 1988. He and Barb moved to Burnsville, Minnesota, to enjoy retirement with their three children and nine grandchildren.
Bob had an enduring impact on everyone, with his great sense of humor and ability to converse and find a common story with anyone, even strangers. He enjoyed long lasting friendships and shared laughter with so many during his lifetime.
Sports and family were the cornerstones of Bob’s life. He was always a loving and caring father. Bob’s greatest joy was watching his grandchildren play sports. He was so proud of all their accomplishments and always made them feel special and loved.
Although we are left behind with aching hearts, we are joyful for our dad and grandpa, who lived a wonderful life and earned his rest. He is now reunited with those he missed for so long. Preceded in death by his parents, his brother Harold “Babe,” and wife Barbara. In addition to his nine grandchildren and great-granddaughter, Bob is survived by his children Bob Jr. (Tammy) and daughters Lorraine (Gordy) and Christina (Michael), grandchildren Tony (Melody), Nick (Abbie), Katherine, Vincent, Austin, Angelo, Olivia, Julia, and Isabel, and great-grandchild Aria.
The family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to the staff at Arbor Lane who provided our dad with tender love and dignified care. Your kindness is appreciated beyond words. We are blessed dad shared jokes and laughter with you all, and we are happy you got to experience the great man that we all knew and love.
A visitation will be held on Tuesday, June 6, 2023 from 4-7 PM at the White Funeral Home, Lakeville. Interment, Chisholm, MN.