Bob Grant, legendary conservative talk radio host who entertained and informed legions of fans during an on-air career that spanned more than 50 years, died peacefully in Hillsborough, N.J., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, after a short illness; he was 84 years old. Born Robert Ciro Gigante in Chicago in 1929, he was a 1946 graduate of Steinmetz High School, and following that, the University of Illinois. He served in the Illinois Army National Guard in 1948-'49 as part of the 132nd Infantry Regiment in Chicago and in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1950-'58, attached to the Naval Air Station at Glenview, Ill. His broadcasting career began in the late 1940s at WBBM in Chicago. He moved to Los Angeles, where he hosted radio and television talk shows on KNX. In the mid-1960s, he first developed his confrontational talk radio style at KABC with a focus on politics and conservative issues. He relocated to New York City in 1970 and joined the talk radio team at WMCA. From there, his career took off, and included successful stops at WOR and WWDB in Philadelphia. In 1984 he was selected to anchor WABC Radio's new all- talk format as its afternoon drive show host. Bob's radio shows were always entertaining and passionate. Along the way, he interviewed countless political leaders and celebrities and inspired a generation of political talk radio hosts now working around the country. Bob lived his life in accordance with one of his radio mantras: "Straight ahead!" He was an unapologetic and fierce supporter of conservative values, the U.S. military, law enforcement, and the nation of Israel. He loved his country, his family, and his Italian heritage, and often spoke on the radio about the many contributions made by Italian-Americans to the United States. He published his memoirs "Let's Be Heard" in 1996. That same year he was the recipient of the "Freedom of Speech Award" of the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts. In addition to living for many years in Los Angeles and New York City, Mr. Grant also resided in Woodbridge, N.J.; Manalapan, N.J., and most recently in Toms River, N.J. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Pasquale and Mary Gigante; his sister, Gloria Weidling, and his longtime friend and companion, Patricia Carmichael, who died in 2008. Surviving are his sons, Jeff Grant and wife, Eileen, of Sun City, Ariz., and Chris Grant and wife, Deanna, of Fallbrook, Calif.; his daughters, Alisa Mingus of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Cynthia Gaydosh and husband, Robert, of Bridgewater, N.J.; eight grandchildren, Myles, Kacie, Nathyn, Andrew, Renee, Lauren, Adam, and Lindsay; two great-grandchildren, Aiden and Ashlyn; his sister, Ann Ryan of Chicago, Ill., and his companion, Josephine Saracco of Toms River. Bob was a proud friend of Bill W. for 44 years. A prayer service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at Branchburg Funeral Home, 910 US Highway 202 South, Branchburg, N.J. 08876 (908) 526-7638. Viewing hours are Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday morning from 9 to 10 a.m. at the funeral home. Committal will be private. Memorial contributions may be made in Bob's memory to the Young America's Foundation, 110 Elden St., Herndon, Va. 20170 or the New York Police and Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, Inc., 767 Fifth Ave., 2614C, New York, N.Y. 10153. Visit www.BranchburgFuneralHome.com
Published by The Star-Ledger on Jan. 3, 2014.