Westport - Robert G. “Bob” Royko passed away peacefully on January 5th surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Chicago on December 23, 1935, to Michael Sr. and Helen (nee Zak) Royko, he was the youngest of four children. Bob grew up a city kid in the Polish neighborhood of Chicago. Baseball, bike rides, and Cubs games were life for this boy who danced prisyádka and polka for change at his father’s tavern.
A man of many interests and talents, Bob lettered in football and basketball at Gordon Tech. In the 50’s, he fell in love with Latin jazz and became an excellent dancer, traveling to New York to teach and dance at the Palladium to Tito Puente, live. He later opened an Arthur Murray dance studio in Chicago. Musically inclined, he played guitar, finger-picking style, and sang a wide variety of folk, blues, and spirituals for 60 years. A voracious reader, Bob never stopped learning. He was a delightfully entertaining story and joke teller.
After DePaul University he began a long and successful career in the beverage industry with Romano Brothers and the Gallo Winery before spending nearly 40 years as VP of Sales and Marketing for General Beverage in Madison.
In 1971 he married his beloved wife of 35 years, Geri, with whom he sang, danced, cooked and built a wonderful life. Bob was a loving and dedicated father to their two children. He always provided sound advice and relished creating many joyful, new experiences.
After Geri’s death in 2005, fortune smiled on Bob again when he met Connie. They married in 2008 and his last years were filled with fun adventures, love, family and laughter, in large part because of her. Connie and Bob were introduced by Connie’s sister Sandy, who also became Bob’s dear friend.
Bob loved travel. Highlights included a 1960’s trip to Aspen with his dear nieces, a magical trip to visit Geri’s family in Sicily, Europe with Connie, and annual visits to his condo in the Florida Keys. Bob loved the Keys and he appreciated the Gulf views as if every time were the first.
Bob was an eternal optimist and constantly sought interesting new experiences to share with family and friends. He loved planning fun and basked in watching everyone enjoy themselves. While building a rich life filled with joy, laughter, and love, he created amazing, lifelong memories for many others. His family and friends are so appreciative to have been along for the ride.
Bob is survived by his wife, Constance; children: Stephen (Jessica) Royko and Amelia (Nathan) Royko Maurer; grandchildren: Anja, Gigi, Anton, Lara, Mason, and Sawyer; stepsons: Brad (Sara) and Craig Kirch; and many nieces and nephews.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Geraldine (nee Caravello); parents Michael Sr. and Helen; sisters: Eleanor and Dorothy; and brother: Michael Jr.
A private family service will be held on January 12 with a celebration of Bob’s life sometime this summer. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to one of Bob’s favorite organizations: The Geri Caravello Royko Scholarship Fund at Edgewood High School, Agrace Foundation in honor of Robert and Constance Royko or The UW Carbone Cancer Center
To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com.
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