Eulogy By Lynn Schindel
Bobby was my best friend. I know you all think of Lynda as my best friend, but you have to understand that in my mind, they are one person. BobbyandLynda â€" when I say it, itâ€™s one word. Even Lyndaâ€™s car has the license plate BOBLYN â€" one word, no space between, because thatâ€™s they way they lived for over 42 years of marriage. Two hearts as one â€" no space between.
When I saw them together for the first time at Midge and Butchâ€™s wedding, I thought to myself â€" What a great couple, Iâ€™d love to get to know them better. As luck would have it, Lynda was in the wedding party and Bobby was seated at our table. All throughout the reception she would come to sit with Bob, and we had a wonderful time together. By the end of the evening, phone numbers were exchanged with promises to get in touch.
Sure enough, a couple of days later my phone rang, and it was Lynda inviting us over for coffee and to see her baby, Christopher, who was just a few months old and the light of their lives.
That was the beginning of a love affair I have had with Bobby and Lynda that has lasted almost 40 years.
Bob and I celebrated in the hospital waiting room at the birth of their next son, Michael. I grieved with them six days later at his tragic death.
Bob and Lynda were there for me when my marriage fell apart and the adoption agency wanted to take my daughter from me. They made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry. They loved me unconditionally when I felt the most unlovable. They truly became my family. I always say that they are my brother and sister of choice, not chance.
When my godchild, Bryan, was born we celebrated for days and thanked God for a healthy, beautiful baby. Another light came into their lives.
In my experience, I have never seen a family so close. Bob and Lynda lived for their children, striving to give them a lovely home and the best possible opportunity for education. They both worked so hard. Sometimes Bob worked three jobs. He made pizza, cut wood, sold fire extinguishers, ran his own business, worked at the funeral home. You name it, he did it, and never complained because it was all for his family.
When Bob had his heart attack and heart surgery, we were all devastated â€" but he took it in stride and was soon back to his old self, doing whatever he could to help his sons and his friends.
Over the years we had been on many vacations together: Las Vegas a few times, St. Martin, Aruba, and Florida. But I think our best trip was to Italy three years ago. Bob wasnâ€™t comfortable on long plane flights, especially if there were no casinos at the other end, but he was so happy on that trip. He loved every minute of it and he told me over and over how glad he was that we were all together having such a great experience. We met a lot of fun people on our tour. Bobby always referred to me as his other wife (which I took as a great compliment), and that really amused the people we met.
If I were to try to enumerate all the laughs, all the fun times â€" the New Yearâ€™s Eves, Christmases, Thanksgivings, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, christenings, that we shared, I would go on for hours.
Every time I hear the song, â€śBlue Moonâ€ť I smile because of Bob. He would show us all his â€śmoonâ€ť whenever that song played.
When I finally came into the 21st century and bought a cell phone, I gave Bob his own ring tone because he would call me all the time: Lynnie, put on channel 2 â€" youâ€™re not going to believe this guy! Lynnie, what was the name of that guy who was in that movieâ€¦., or Lynnie â€" you and Ed come over and eat with us and weâ€™ll play pinochle. We always had so much fun â€" just the four of us â€" just being together. Sometimes Lynda and I would get the giggles to the point of tears, and he would pronounce us â€śtwo paper assholes.â€ť I still donâ€™t know what that means, but that was his name for us when we were out of control. Just like corn holders will forever be â€śstabanoidsâ€ť because thatâ€™s what Bob called them.
Bob was a presence â€" a force of nature. We always knew what Bob was thinking because he never held back â€" whether it was kicking people out of his house when he was tired, or sharing intimate feelings about his life or his family. He was always a straight shooter, and he always shot from the heart. There wasnâ€™t an insincere bone in his body.
He was the kindest, funniest, most generous, most loving man. He was a devoted husband and father and an extremely loyal friend. Iâ€™m so glad that he lived to see his grandchild â€" one of his fondest dreams come true. Iâ€™m so glad he lived to host Bryan and Taraâ€™s engagement party â€" another event he so looked forward to.
And I thank God for putting him in my life, because he made my life better, and Iâ€™m a richer person from his love.
I believe in God. I believe in life after death, and I truly believe that Bob is here with us now, connected to us by the strength of his love, with no space between.
Robert L. Chiafullo age 68 of Long Branch died on Saturday September 5, 2009 at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune. Bob was a Division Head at Monmouth Park Race Track, Oceanport and was previously the proprietor of Bagels and Then Some in Howell and Monmouth Mall, and for many years he worked at his familyâ€™s restaurant â€śNunzioâ€™s Pizzeriaâ€ť in Long Branch. Born in Long Branch, he was a life resident. Bob was predeceased by his son Michael, his parents Nunzio and Thelma Chiafullo and his brother John Chiafullo.
Surviving is his wife of 42 years, Lynda Dinardo Chiafullo; 2 sons Christopher M. Chiafullo and his wife Lauren; Bryan Chiafullo and his fiancĂ©e, Tara Vartigian; his grandson James Joseph Chiafullo; his siblings Elizabeth King, Lorraine Watkins, Veronica (Snookie)Falivene, Louis Chiafullo, Bonnie Lee Eckert, Nancy Chiafullo, and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 8, 2009 from 5 - 9 pm at the Damiano Funeral Home, 191 Franklin Ave., on the corner of Third Ave., Long Branch. Funeral, Wednesday from 10 am until the time of the service at 11 am at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to be made to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, (Brennan 6, Oncology Floor), 1945 Highway 33, Neptune, NJ 07753. The family invites you to write a letter of condolence, light a memorial candle, or make a donation by selecting a tab on the left.