Robert Chojnowski

Obituary of Robert Chojnowski

The Leader of the Band, Robert L. Chojnowski, passed away peacefully on January 30, 2020, surrounded by his loving family. He joins his beloved mother and father, Alice and Stanley Chojnowski; his brother, Stan; and his son, Robert (Jeff), whom he adored and missed every day since his passing in 2010. Born in New Britain, CT almost 87 years ago, Bob graduated from New Britain High School as an accomplished musician, excelling on trumpet and vocals, having performed at many school events and as a member of the “Pretzel Benders”. He served in the Army as an MP and was honorably discharged in 1955. Married to the former Marion Kasprow in 1953, they were blessed with three children who were raised with love, laughter and music. Although that marriage later ended in divorce, he never waivered in his devotion to his children and was particularly devastated to lose his son Jeff from cancer. Following his discharge from the Army, Bob worked for several years as an investigator for Travelers Insurance in Hartford, before taking a huge leap of faith and opening The Newington Music Shoppe. It soon became a hangout for local musicians who would stop by just to jam. After closing the store, Bob worked as a librarian for the South Windsor Library before joining the Department of Motor Vehicles in New Britain, CT. To our knowledge, he was the only DMV employee ever to get a positive review for his customer service through a letter to the editor in the Hartford Courant. It was at the DMV where he met the love of his life, Diana, who has faithfully remained by his side for 40 years. She brought to the relationship three more children whom he was proud to help raise. Together, Bob and Di enjoyed movies, books, and bingo (when the Mashantucket Pequot Casino was just a bingo hall with a dirt floor) and delighted in driving to different military bases to watch their kids graduate from basic training. Although fans of the New York Jets and the NY Mets, they were at their most enthusiastic when cheering on Geno and the UConn Women’s basketball team. Bob performed in various bands and supper clubs throughout his life, even performing in his late 70s at McDonald’s in New Britain and Southington, where the places would fill up with couples dancing to the music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the like, and you would have to drive a block down the street just to find parking on those nights. In April 2011, after a particularly hard snowstorm, Bob and Di packed up and moved to Nevada so they could live with the things they enjoyed the most – warm weather and casinos – and never looked back. There wasn’t a casino they didn’t love – except the ones that took their money, of course! Bob is survived by his wife, Diana, who rarely left Bob’s side and took great pains to see that he never wanted for anything. He is also survived by his daughters, Roberta (Guy) Roberge, Susan (Ralph) Sade, and Elizabeth (Steve) Swink; sons Steve Roman and Anthony (Charlene) Roman; grandchildren Eric (Amy) Ciarolla, Christopher (Santos) Ciarolla, Kaitlyn Ciarolla, Jessica Roman, Elizabeth (Jesse) Tillman, Stephanie Roman, Ethan Sade, Natalie Roman, Brandon Schoenecke, and David Paul; and great-grandchildren Brody, Lucie and Elijah Ciarolla, Jacob and Sophia Tillman, and Della Paul; niece Elaine (George) Harger; nephew Thomas (Elaine) Chojnowski, who inherited his love for and skills on the trumpet; and their dear friend Anita Cullins, who always had their backs. We have always heard there are angels on earth. Now we know it’s true, and we wish to recognize some of them: Willie from Nathan Adelson Hospice, who kept Bob clean-shaven and spiffy; Sue Sade, who made sure her Bobby was always comfortable and never alone; Elizabeth “Don’t mess with my grandparents” Tillman; Santos Ciarolla, who missed her calling as a nurse; and Linda Phillippi, who despite her own recent loss, was always available if we had questions or doubts or just needed a shoulder to cry on. They will all be forever in our prayers. A private celebration of life was held. In lieu of flowers, we hope that you will consider donating to Nathan Adelson Hospice, 414 University Center Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89119. Their services allowed us to make sure that Bob left this earth peacefully and with dignity. “The record shows, I took the blows, and did it MY WAY….Paul Anka
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