Robert E. Felice, Sr.
11/11/41 - 11/24/16
Bob Felice Sr. carved the turkey on Thanksgiving Day using his son's, perfectly-sharpened chef knife, which pleased him because he kept his own tools in perfect condition, and obviously inoculated his son with the same habit. Through the skin, drumstick away in his bare fingers. That turkey was in good hands. When he was finished carving, the platter of meat was perfect! It always was. He was kitchen savvy at his mother's knee, technical skills honed through the years by her and five loving brothers and five loving...
Robert E. Felice, Sr.
11/11/41 - 11/24/16
Bob Felice Sr. carved the turkey on Thanksgiving Day using his son's, perfectly-sharpened chef knife, which pleased him because he kept his own tools in perfect condition, and obviously inoculated his son with the same habit. Through the skin, drumstick away in his bare fingers. That turkey was in good hands. When he was finished carving, the platter of meat was perfect! It always was. He was kitchen savvy at his mother's knee, technical skills honed through the years by her and five loving brothers and five loving sisters. They called it cooking or maybe baking, or feeding the family. I promise you, it was love on a plate, generations of acquired food knowledge passed around among them. Bob took all of that with him from his birthplace in Melrose Park, Illinois to Colorado Springs, where he lived most of his life with me. (I'm his wife, Cynthia.) Bob made feeding the family, not to mention gathering upon gathering of science fiction writers over the years, look easy and taste great. I was truly blessed.
From all the reminiscing I heard, his childhood was marred by his father's loss when he was only seven years old, but his mother and siblings were stronger than death; they enveloped him with love. Bob helped his older brother at the corner store or on carpentry projects, fetching or carrying but only when he and his friends weren't sliding down snow-filled streets by holding onto the bumper of a police car. In high school, he took typing class and home economics because, "that's where the girls were." Suits with pegged pants, pink shirt, red tie and suspenders purchased from his own meager earnings because his mother did not have fleeting-fashion money for a rapidly growing boy, and she had lots of experience with just how rapidly and how broad-shouldered they could be in a blink of an eye. Bob was quickly propelled to work in this world of ours, laboring, grounds keeping, his eye always on the next opportunity. A recreation director stint for a park district showed his knack for working with kids, and when he became a policeman in Bloomingdale and Roselle, Illinois, he was the designated juvenile officer. A small business manager in Illinois, he tasted the joy (and hardships) of being head honcho, and thereafter rarely drew a paycheck from someone else. More small businesses, rarely keeping one longer than seven years, he liked finding the next opportunity. He most enjoyed the businesses that used his carpentry skills as well as his brain (he could keep a one-hundred-thousand dollar liquor store inventory in his head to within one hundred dollars. Cash register salesmen hated him!) Have I mentioned that he has balanced our personal checkbook to the penny without fail for at least twenty years? Yeah, sure wish I'd tracked exactly how long but I didn't believe that it could possibly go on so long. Poor checkbook; it has no idea what's about to hit it.
Bob loved travelling, seeing magnificent cathedrals and white sand beaches. He read cookbooks like other people read novels, and he read novels galore, too! Bob's life would not have been complete without sports, pitching softball until the over 55-recreation league produced injuries many seasons in a row. He was a great pitcher, "Ace" or "Number 13" (we'll eventually recycle those trophies!) He has always been a football fan, loved going to his son's games, loved being a father. We had two sons, Erik and Bobby; we lost Erik during heart transplant surgery sixteen years ago. We wondered how we could survive, but Bob was the rudder, a rock for his family, and all six of those grandkids got a taste of this life of ours as best we could live it and Erik's son gets to know his father through our reminiscing about the old normals. We carried on with the Christmas Eve party through the pain because the tradition of over a thousand cookies baked solely by Papa's hand along with full Italian and Swedish meals prepared to perfection was as much for our grandchildren as for Bob's other close survivors (you could recognize them by their waistlines, waddling out our door with bags of cookies.) They were all young and trim when our Christmas Eve tradition began in Colorado Springs in the early 1970's. We knew only Bob's brother's family and had met a few other people. Bob's then small business was a charming mom and pop motel that's hard to get away from, so we invited folk who had no other family in town to join us for soup and some cookies. The tradition grew from there over the years because there are always displaced families on Christmas Eve, our kids' friends who would otherwise be home alone, until at its peak there were seventy-five people who always had Christmas Eve at the Felice's. The celebration continued through our golden wedding anniversary (preparing for Christmas Eve is what you do when you were married on December 23!)
Bob enjoyed every bit of his Thanksgiving dinner this year, and even had his much longed for banana cream pie. He was surrounded by family, he was calm, he was engaged in the moment, he and his son sitting on the couch watching football. That moment in the midst of conversation with Bob Jr, and mid-sentence he was gone. Food, family, football, and a swift death. The powers that be gave him the peace he deserved. Farewell, my sweet prince of Colorado. I love you more than ever.
Cynthia Felice, November 27, 2016
In lieu of flowers please bestow your own blessings of food and friendship or something else you love to share upon acquaintances or friends some time in the coming year, and think of Bob when you do.
Arrangements under the direction of Memorial Gardens Cemetery & Funeral Home, Colorado Springs, Colorado.