Robert Martin Chiaviello
June 10, 1922 – December 9, 2018
Robert Martin Chiaviello passed away in Beaufort, South Carolina, on December 9, 2018. Surrounded by his family, he left peacefully after walking this earth for over 96 years. Born in Rutherford, New Jersey in 1922, Bob Chiaviello inspired love, loyalty, trust, immense respect, and commitment to family, church, community and country.
Bob celebrated every blessing, tried not to worry about the “small things,” and fought age every day to his last. His laugh was big, his passion was endless, and his stories were the kind that even his grandchildren repeat often. All of his children and all of their cousins and most of their friends have at least one face-to-face life-learning experience they can still recount 50 years later, most of them good. He knew exactly what he liked and did not, from food to politics, and rarely passed up an opportunity to discuss any of it, if you were interested. He was generous and kind to a fault, devoured every daily newspaper he could find, and filled every room he entered.
Bob Chiaviello graduated from New Jersey’s Rutherford High School in 1941, lettering for three years in both football and baseball, and went on to enter The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, before leaving to serve in what he called “that little war” in the Army Air Forces. He came back to The Citadel as a veteran student and graduated in 1949. While at The Citadel, he met Beaufort’s Reeve Sams (who tried keeping then-cadet Chiaviello from spending all his time walking punishment tours) and Heyward Jenkins (who introduced Bob to his little sister, Esther Jenkins, with whom Bob fell in love and married in 1954).
Bob and his beloved wife Esther raised their family in Rutherford, New Jersey, nearly a stone’s throw from where he grew up, and where he was a key sales executive in both the pharmaceutical and spirits industries. He treasured and passed on the importance of family loyalty in all things, even creating “the list” – local establishments that had mistreated anyone in the family, meaning no one could seek their services until they made good on the original maltreatment. Any family coming to town for a visit knew to ask about the list.
After a long and successful career, and after sending all his children to college, and some to graduate school, he retired. Fulfilling his life-long promise to his wife, the couple retired to the banks of her beloved Beaufort River in 1990. In Beaufort, Bob continued serving a now larger community family, where he remained active at St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, a Catholic charity committed to ending poverty. He spent a lot of time doing a lot of good for a lot of people.
Bob Chiaviello was predeceased by his bride of over 43 years, Esther Jenkins Chiaviello, and died on her birthday, 21 years after her passing. He is survived by his seven children – Robert Chiaviello, Philip Chiaviello, Dr. Christine Chiaviello, Anne Chiaviello, Heyward Chiaviello, Richard Chiaviello, and Truby Chiaviello – fifteen grandchildren, his first great-grandchild, crowds of nephews, nieces, and a growing list of what he lovingly referred to as “Chiaviello Wanna-be’s.”
A viewing will be held at Copeland Funeral Service, at One Copeland Drive, Beaufort, from 6 PM to 7:30 PM, Friday, December 21, 2018, followed by a Rosary Service at the Copeland Funeral Service Chapel.
The Mass of the Christian Burial will be held at 10 AM, December 22, 2018, at the St. Peter’s Historical Catholic Church, at 710 Carteret Street in downtown Beaufort and officiated by the Reverend Monsignor Ronald Cellini. A military honor guard will accompany the casket to the adjoining graveyard, where he will be laid to rest with many generations of his extended family. Che riposi in pace eterna.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Beaufort, S.C., osvonlinegiving.com/4473, or The Smile Train, www.smiletrain.org.