Robert Pasciullo

  • "Dear llsa and Steve,,remember both of you from 1976 and..."
  • "Our community has lost a true champion. He walked the walk..."
    - John MacFadden
  • ""Without question, [he]was one of the Great Men of Our..."
    - Joseph Gerace
  • "Mrs. Pasciullo and Family. Bob was a very kind and caring..."
    - Susan Christopher and Family
    - Sarah Murabito

ROBERT J. PASCIULLO Saratoga Springs - Robert J. Pasciullo, a man of exceptional character, high ideals, and steadfast purpose, who possessed an indomitable spirit and an unwavering dedication to the great causes of the day, died peacefully in the early morning hours of February 4, 2014, at Saratoga Hospital. Bob was 83 and had resided in Saratoga Springs for 30 years. His optimism was infectious, and people just loved to spend time with him, whether attending an opera or working on a political campaign. He showed genuine interest in the people he met, and he knew how to make them feel that they mattered. Bob’s lifelong interest in education began as a student at Van Rensselaer High School. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of Vermont, his master’s degree at SUNY Albany following military service, and a doctorate from SUNY Buffalo. Bob started his career as a public school teacher, then became a college professor at Jamestown Community College, and finally went on to various administrative positions in the State University system Central Staff, as a Vice President in the early years of Empire State College, Dean for Continuing Education at SUNY Brockport and Director of the Capital District Office of Cornell’s Industrial and Labor School, from which he retired. He was an administrator in the State University System for 27 years. As Director of the Capital District Office, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, he developed and administered employee development programs including training funded through partnerships with the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and employee unions. Following retirement from Cornell, he served as Director of Planning and Development for the City of Rensselaer, and as a Neutral Chair for the Office of Labor and Management Affairs, New York State Department of Labor. He also taught labor-management courses in the University Without Walls, Skidmore College. On leave from the SUNY University system, he served in the public sector as Associate Director of the Education Committee staff for the 1967 New York State Constitutional Convention and as Executive Director of the 1979 Governor Carey’s Panel on the Future of Government. A self-styled liberal Democrat in the tradition of Bobby Kennedy, Bob spent his life working for the underdog—those less fortunate who society seemed to forget. He worked tirelessly over the years for racial equality, social justice, and on behalf of the impoverished. He gave freely of both his time and his money on behalf of causes that made life a little better for those around him. He was grateful for his good fortune, and he desired the same for others. He was a man who stood up for what he believed in and didn’t shy away from controversy. He marched for civil rights in the 1960s, and in recent years he was one of those who braved the elements weekly on Broadway, in Saratoga, protesting the war in Iraq. When someone mentioned to him that perhaps he was under surveillance by the government for protesting, he quipped: “That’s Okay, they can put the pictures they take of me now in the same folder that holds the pictures they took of me when I protested the war in Vietnam.” Community activities were important as work life. In the 1960’s he founded the Northside Community Center in Jamestown, New York, which offered free medical and other services to those in need. In the 1970’s he served on the Saratoga Springs City Charter Commission, and as the first president of the Board of the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (SCEOC) from 1971-1975, and upon his return to Saratoga Springs He rejoined the board and was again president from 2005-2008. By then the annual budget had reached $10 million and the Council employed 160 staff to provide human services throughout the County. He was a member of the 1999 Saratoga Springs Master Plan Review Committee. While living in his hometown, the city of Rensselaer, again from 1982-1992, he founded with others the Rensselaer Improvement Committee, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in the community. He also served on the Transportation Committee of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission (1990-96) and on the Community Board of the Junior League of Albany and the Board of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. Returning to Saratoga Springs, he was President of the Water’s Edge/Woodlands Homeowners Association. He is a past president of the Board of Literacy Volunteers of New York State and was on the National Literacy Volunteers Board. He is a founding member and past president of the Continuing Education Association and of the Capital District Consulting Alliance and supporting member of the Saratoga County League of Women Voters. Robert co-chaired the countywide Saratoga Workforce Housing Partnership for five years and served on the Saratoga Springs Workforce Housing Trust Fund. He was a member of the Saratoga Affordable Housing Group, Inc., which manages 44 two and three bedroom units for low-income workers and their families. He continued his role on the SCEOC board. An alumnus of Van Rensselaer High School, Class of 1948, he is a member of the Centennial Awards Committee of the Alumni Association of the Rensselaer School District, which raises funds and provides scholarships to two Rensselaer High School graduates annually. He also is an active member of the recently revived Rensselaer Alumni Association, serving ex officio to the Executive Committee and was named to its inaugural Hall of Fame in 2013. While he left formal teaching many years ago, Bob spent a lifetime dedicated to educating people about the things he found of great interest. A voracious reader and a devotee of his beloved New York Times, he was a vast repository of diverse and eclectic knowledge, from a great recipe for a holiday meal to details about economic policy. Anyone who became friends with Bob regularly received copies of articles in the mail that he thought they would find of interest. Simply put, Bob knew a lot about a lot, and he just loved to share his knowledge with the people he knew. Though short in stature, he excelled in baseball and basketball in high school and college and was selected for the battalion baseball team during his military service in Anchorage, Alaska. He was an avid tennis player, enjoyed reading history and wrote a mystery novel that he was readying for publication. Bob was married to his wife, Josie, for almost 60 years. Anyone that knew them, knew of his great devotion and his great love and respect for her. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter Ilsa Markovits and her husband Steve, son Nicholas Pasciullo and his wife Nancy Hubley, all attorneys, and by his grandchildren, Erica and Grace Pasciullo and Justin Markovits, whom he often said were his greatest joy. He took enormous pride in their accomplishments. Always the educator, Bob donated his body to Albany Medical College through its Anatomical Gift Program. Gifts in his memory may be made to the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. 39 Bath Street, PO Box 169, Ballston Spa, NY 12020, or the Centennial Award, c/o Rennselaer Alumni Association, 25 Van Rensselaer Drive, Rensselaer, NY 12144. There are no calling hours. A memorial will be held at a later date.
Published in The Saratogian on Feb. 6, 2014
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