Robert L Rataic, 87 of Glocester (Fondly remembered as Bob, Dad, Pop, Poppy, Uncle Bobby, Bendy) died peacefully on Sat. December 24, 2022 surrounded by family at Rhode Island Hospital. Born in Hartford, CT on May 6, 1935 he was the second youngest of eleven children to the late John and Catherine (Sudac) Rataic. He was predeceased by Nicholas (Barbara) Rataic, Michael (Gladys) Rataic, Frank Rataic, Joseph (Joan) Rataic, Mary (Joseph) Bucchere, Mildred “Ann” (Philip) Desovich, Margaret (Frank) DaBica, Alice (Michael) Ullmar and Viola (Wes) Westerberg. He also had two half-siblings Peter Rataic and Katy Emerson. There is one remaining living sibling from John and Catherine, Sally Ann (Richard) DePietro.
After moving from Front Street in Hartford to the homestead lovingly known as “the Farm” in East Hartford, he met his blushing bride Patricia (Beane), and they married on May 4, 1957. There they would begin their life together, build a home and raise a family. He would reside there for 61 years until moving to Rhode Island in 2018.
A gifted athlete, he excelled in baseball at E.H.H.S. (class of 1953) earning the nickname “Bendy” because of a devastating curve ball. He then enjoyed a successful career in the Greater Hartford Twilight League into the late 1950’s. He passed his love of the game on to his son and many other young men as he enjoyed coaching in the East Hartford Little League system for many years. He never met a sport with hand/eye coordination that he didn’t like. He was an avid bowler all his life – even qualifying and competing at the Senior Olympics in San Antonio, Baton Rouge and Pittsburgh from 1995 to 2005. He was a ringer on the horseshoe pits and would gladly school all comers. When not playing sports, he was watching them. Baseball most of all, with his beloved Braves and Red Sox. When the Whalers broke his heart and moved to Carolina, he adopted the Bruins in hockey, as a true New Englander would. He was also an AVID UCONN Basketball fan, following both the men and women’s teams.
Pop was a man who strongly believed in Faith and Family. He belonged to the Knights of Columbus, and he proudly served in the US National Guard from 1953-1963. Coming from such a large family and being born at the tail end of the Great Depression made him a hard worker, many times holding more than one job at a time. Starting in the tobacco and pepper fields of relatives early on gave him a strong body as well as work ethic. He supported his wife and family by working as a welder at the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Plant, making it to foreman before retiring after 31 years in 1987. But at 52 he could not keep still and became a service tech working for the Bliss Exterminator Co. For the next 21 years his customers would affectionately refer to him as “Bob the Bug Man”. When he wasn’t working, he loved to take vacations. Among his favorites were camping in the fresh mountain air of Vermont during the summers and visiting relatives in the Sunshine State during the winter. Country music was also a passion for him and not just “old school”. Hank Williams, Hank Snow and Johnny Cash could be heard coming out of the HiFi stereo on Hilton Drive on Sunday afternoons back in the day. But Randy Travis, Kenney Chesney and Brad Paisley would also flow from the blue tooth speaker in the later years as well.
An extremely humble and simple man, his kindness and generosity touched everyone he encountered along his road in life. He simply made the world a better place.
Besides his loving wife of 65 years, Bob is survived by his 3 children – daughter Jackie Clifford and her husband Greg of Jamestown, RI – daughter Tracy Cichon and her longtime companion Tom Zajac of Manchester, CT – son RJ Rataic and his wife Lisa of Glocester, RI. He also leaves behind his 4 treasured grandchildren to pass on his values and legacy. Lauren Cichon and her fiancé Justin Routhier of Newington, CT – Allie Pirri and her husband Tom of Narragansett, RI – and Ava Rataic and Ella Rataic of Glocester, RI.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with the family on Saturday January 7, 2023 from 12noon to 3pm in the Anderson-Winfield Funeral Home, 2 Church Street Greenville, RI 02828. A private funeral and burial will be at a later date.
If desired, donations may be made to the St Vincent De Paul Society c/o Saint Philip Church 622 Putnam Pike Smithfield, RI 02828. For messages of condolences please visit www.andersonwinfield.net