COMPITELLO--Robert. Writer, media director, film/ video producer, and public relations maverick, died on August 31 after suffering a massive heart attack during an early morning run along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. He was 48 years old. A public relations veteran for 25 years, he held positions at well-known PR firms including Burson-Marsteller, GTFH, Fleischman-Hillard and Burrell Communications working with noteworthy celebrity spokespersons and leading physicians. He carved a unique path in the world of public relations - delighting clients, and colleagues, with his unending creativity, sharp wit, and spot-on media perspective. Robert is a brilliant illustration of a life well-lived and a selfless grace that touched so many. Putting family and friends first, whether putting them up for the night, a week, or several months - making them laugh, making them dinner, or just making them feel good about themselves - his life was forever full of loving family and friends, delicious food, abundant wine, and laughter. Robert made life-long friends wherever he went, with his easy nature and uncanny ability to keep his friendships alive across the miles and years of his life - he will be missed by so many. Born on Halloween, October 31, 1963, Robert was a loyal and loving son to his mother Iris Ann of Virginia Beach, VA from whom he inherited his humor and Southern hospitality, and the late Joseph Compitello who instilled the ability to make a perfect martini along with the cooking acumen to create his beloved dinner parties. A caring brother to his sister Suzanne - who was a constant presence in his life and at his side through the end - and her husband Barry Bulifant. He also leaves behind his half-siblings Debbie and Dennis Compitello. After graduating from Old Dominion University in 1985 and working for a short period in Virginia Beach, Robert moved to New York City in 1988 where he worked in public relations and media. In 1997 he completed New York University's program in Film Production Studies and in 1999 continued his career in Frederick, MD working with his dear friend and business partner Carol Guaccero (CMG Healthcare Communications), continuing to erase the lines between work and play, friends and colleagues, productivity and creativity. He moved to Chicago in 2005 nurturing friendships from high school, early jobs, and from his years in Virginia, New York and Maryland - collecting more friends everywhere he visited, around the globe. Robert was a big, beautiful guy and even bigger-hearted. His shoulders were a mile wide, and his legs were better sculpted than Michelangelo's David. His walk, his laugh, his look of surprise - or mischief - all were sublime to behold. A prolific writer, a seasoned world traveler, witty and charming conversationalist and storyteller, voracious lover of soul, pop and dance music, he brought a shimmering light - and delight - that will never diminish. His voice and wit continue to ring in so many ears. We love you, Robert. Carol, Alice, Tim, Eric and Stephen.
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Published in The New York Times on Oct. 31, 2012