Robert Charles Cortese

AUGUSTA – With deep sadness and heavy hearts, we announce that on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, we lost a piece of our heart, our champion Robert Charles Cortese, 74, to an unexpected illness at the Alfond Center for Health, in Augusta.

Bob was born the eldest child of Alfred and Mary (Lalomio) Cortese of Queens, N.Y. on Dec. 14, 1946. He grew up in Woodside Queens and later moved to Springfield Gardens in Queens. During his high school years, Bob was known as a jokester to many families and friends as he loved to get others to laugh. Not many people knew he also sang with a group of friends from high school that were called the Runaways and even had a single called Kangaroo Hop. At this same time, he also befriended a group of girls that sang from his neighborhood who later became known as the Shangri-Las.

After graduating from Andrew Jackson High School, Bob was drafted into the United States Army at the age of 19, where he traveled the world making lifetime friends with others he met during that time, that still call and check up on each other to this day. After returning home from the Army Bob had a couple different jobs but planted his feet with the Department of New York City Sanitation, where he met some more lifetime friends and was always the jokester with everyone around him, often being known for not getting dirty and the boss asking if he even worked that day.

Bob was known for his love of cars especially Cadillacs and his meticulous care of them, family and friends will know what we mean by this. Bob later retired from the Department of New York Sanitation where he moved to the countryside in Maine where he enjoyed fishing, relaxing and the comfort of his and his beloved wife Debra’s home. He lived the fullest of lives and came out of retirement to drive a school bus for Gardiner MSAD 11, who was referred lovingly by all the kids and family as “Bob the bus driver” and was especially known for his stylish hair.

After many years of driving the school bus, Bob finally retired for good and spent all his days working around the home he enjoyed alongside his beautiful wife and beloved dog Bandit. Bob had an infectious personality and left a lasting impression on all who came across him. He was always making sure to watch over the neighborhood and talk with their neighbors during his and Bandits daily walks around the block. The one thing that truly mattered to him was family and anyone that knew him knew how very much he adored his wife and for the last thirty years showered her with every bit of his love. Without a doubt we will feel his love for the rest of our days and are truly blessed for having received it.

He was predeceased by his parents; Alfred and Mary Cortese

Robert is survived by his loving wife Debra Cortese; his children Catherine Tressider and husband Pete, Robert Cortese, Richard Lopez and wife Shana; his eight grandchildren Jonny, Mathew, Michael, Casey Kaitlynn, Kaden, Kasey, Samantha; and four great-grandchildren Devin, Jacklynn, Joseph and Jace.

Survived by his sisters Cathy Cortese Young and Carole Cortese Ferrie; as well as his aunts, nieces and nephews and cousins

A memorial service will be held on Oct. 25 at 12:00 pm, at Staples Funeral home and Cremation Care, 53 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner Me. A private family burial will be held at the Oak Grove Cemetery, in Gardiner the following day at 12pm.

Arrangements are entrusted with Staples F uneral Home and Cremation Care, 53 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, Maine. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the Staples Funeral Home website: http://www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com

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