Troy - On December 31, the Christmas angels lifted up our dad, Robert W. St. John, Sr., to sleep in Heavenly Peace. Now he finds comfort and joy with his lifelong dancing partner, Anna, who predeceased him in 2009 and his namesake, Robert, Jr., who died in 1992.
When you look up “generous” in the dictionary, you will find a photo of our dad.
To say that Bob—spelled forward or backward the same way—was a generous soul is an understatement. He was a gentleman’s gentleman. A lifelong resident of the Capital District (almost 70 years in Troy alone, living on Ida Hill in the same house where he took up residency with his bride, Anna Marino, in 1946), Bob has been involved in the local scene for most of his 94 years.
Born in Albany on November 23, 1925 to Eugene and Catherine (Hall) St. John, Bob was their first-born son and the second of six children. He was educated in Albany Schools. Like many of his colleagues, he served in WWII, drafted in 1943 and entered military service in 1944 at the pinnacle of the war. He served in the Army Air Corp from 1944-1946 with the 74th Bomb Squadron, 6th Air Force at the rank of Staff Sergeant, Flight Engineer on the B17. His orders included Texas—Flight Engineer/Crew Chief; Arizona—Gunnery Instructor; California—B17 Specialist Training; North Carolina—Prep for Panama Canal position; and Panama Canal—where he flew submarine patrol guarding of the Canal. Following his honorable discharge, he attended HVCC and RPI for continuing education after returning from military service.
Briefly stated, he was of that “Greatest Generation” living among us on Ida Hill and the last of that greatest generation to depart from the Watervliet Lodge of Elks 1500.
A talented florist, Bob worked at Sanbrook Wholesale Florist and owned a Flower Shop in Troy. His flexibility and gifts would later manifest themselves when he went on to work at Simons Machine and Tool as a licensed electrician. From this work experience, Robert went on to Continental Can Company as a Master Electrician.
The love of his life is focused on his 60 years of marriage to Anna Marino of Troy. She would lure him to the riverfront community where they raised five children, all of whom attended Troy schools. He enjoyed the joyful camaraderie of his two local grandchildren and delighted in the spirited imagination of his great-granddaughters, Evelyn and Cecilia.
One of the sustaining principles of Bob’s life has been volunteerism. He has provided a wonderful role model for his children in this regard as he served on the Electrical Board of Troy, volunteered for over 40 years in various roles that included Chaplain’s Aid and Receptionist at Samaritan Hospital, served in leadership and volunteer positions (Grand Exalted Ruler and District Deputy) in the Watervliet Elks Lodge 1500, was a member of the North Albany American Legion Post 1610, and offered his time in ministry in his Catholic Community both at St. Francis de Sales, Troy (as Trustee, Lector, Eucharistic Minister, and Usher) and at Our Lady of Victory Parish, Troy (as greeter, Lector, Eucharistic Minister, and Usher). It was never uncommon for us to be late for a holiday dinner because our father. As a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, he was often called upon to deliver a holiday meal or a bag of gifts to a family in need on Christmas Day (long before any organized effort by parishes), or had to deliver a Christmas gift to our local pastor.
It can honestly be stated that we have never heard our father speak ill of anybody. Certainly, this is an extraordinary fact for anyone’s life! As his children, he encouraged us to do the same. Be kind in all ways and always: he taught us that, if you can’t say anything nice about somebody, don’t say anything at all.
Once you met Bob St. John, he never forgot you and you probably never forgot him! A sociable, kind and jovial man, his sparkling blue eyes, warm, inviting smile, and spirited Irish charm welcomed you into his circle and you were always a part of that hospitality, a legacy that he and his wife passed onto his children. His tenacity for life was evidenced in his survival of five cancers. Our dad loved life and all that it brought to him and that he gave to it. He was strong, faithful, and tenacious. He wasn’t going down easily.
As a life-long resident of Troy, Bob St. John was a living legend among us—an example of kindness, hospitality and friendship that we hope exemplifies and shapes the community we all strive to create. He was deeply honored when named the Grand Marshall of the 50th and final Troy Flag Day Parade in 2018.
Bob’s spirit will provide the permeating presence for those he leaves to mourn his passing: his children—Vincent St. John (Sharon) of Middleburgh, Florida; Sister Patricia St. John, CSJ, of Albany; Ann Marie St. John-Grover (Andy Dicke) of Clifton Park; and Eugene St. John (Donna) of Troy; his grandchildren—Michelle Valente (Steve); Nicholas St. John (Veronica); Ryan Sandifer and Russell Sandifer; his siblings, Eugene and Arnold St. John, Marie Hilliker (Don) and his sisters-in-law, Carol Marino Delano and Theresa Marino. The family favorite, “Uncle Bob,” cherished his nieces and nephews, and gladly welcomed their spouses into our extended family.
In addition to his wife, Anna, and son, Bobby (a.k.a, Saintzie), Bob was predeceased by his Father- and Mother-in law, Vincent and Mafalda Marino, his son-in-law, Howard Grover, his siblings, Catherine Reese and DuWayne (Jeeper) St. John; his sisters-in-law, Mary Marino and Dorothy St. John, his brothers-in law, Pasquale Marino, Vincent Marino, Jr. and Edward Reese, Sr., and his nephews, James St. John and Edward Reese, Jr.
Our family wishes to extend deep gratitude to all those who cared for our dad at the Cancer Treatment Center at St. Mary’s Hospital and through the Saratoga Hospice Team. You were our Christmas Angels. In addition, we are thankful for the many friends at Samaritan Hospital and Northeast Health who so lovingly enriched our dad’s long life.
Relatives and friends may call at the Bryce Funeral Home, Inc. 276 Pawling Avenue Troy on Sunday, January 5, 2020 from 4-7 PM.
Funeral service will be held Monday, at 9 AM at the funeral home and at 9:30 AM at Our Lady of Victory Church Troy where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. Randall Patterson, Pastor.
Entombment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery Mausoleum Troy.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Development Office, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Rd., Latham, NY 12110. To sign the guest book, light a candle or for service directions, visit www.brycefh.com.
To send flowers to Robert's family, please visit our floral section.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet c/o The Development Office
385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham NY 12110