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Robert J. Balestieri

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Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176
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“Awesome friend and awesome boss. Spent 3 years, while in high school, working and learning from Robert and the entire family. Was treated like one of...Read More »
1 of 21 | Posted by: Arthur Trestin - Staten Island, NY

“On a whim, I just tried to call Village Fruit to wish my former boss Robert Balestieri a happy birthday as I have always remembered his birthday was...Read More »
2 of 21 | Posted by: Laura Holland - Eugene, OR

“A gentleman and a scholar. New him through the produce and loved being in his always pleasant company.Have pictures of him at my sons bris.He will be...Read More »
3 of 21 | Posted by: Alan Warner - Lynn, MA - Friend

“So sorry for your loss Bethany. I am sure your dad thought of you as his Angel on Earth and now you have an Angel in Heaven looking over you all the...Read More »
4 of 21 | Posted by: Rob Smetzer - Clear Spring, MD

“I went to grade school with Bob; a great guy way back then. We went to different high schools, but saw each other a few times after that. Still a...Read More »
5 of 21 | Posted by: Dan Durant - Melrose, MA - Friend

“Sorry to hear of your loss. Andrew if there is anything I can do please reach out to me. ”
6 of 21 | Posted by: Barry Kling

“To all of the Balestieri's... Thinking of you at this sad time. So sorry for your loss. ”
7 of 21 | Posted by: Janice Diana Burke - MA

“My cousin Robert was always smiling. I can remember when living downstairs from Robert's family on West Highland Ave and I would go upstairs and...Read More »
8 of 21 | Posted by: Philip Fortunato - North Andover, MA

“So sorry the loss of Robert. My condolences to your whole family. ”
9 of 21 | Posted by: Donna Giacalone - Melrose, MA

“I graduated with Bobbie. He and my brother, Tom, were good friends. In fact Bobbie is my nephew Christopher's Godfather. He was always smiling, very...Read More »
10 of 21 | Posted by: Carol DelCore Croce - Nokomis, FL

“My heartfelt condolences to the entire Balestieri family. I have great childhood memories growing up with Robert in the Highlands. One of the kindest...Read More »
11 of 21 | Posted by: George McCarthy - Melrose, MA

“i knew robert most of my life he was a talented great guy he will be missed ”
12 of 21 | Posted by: john manganaro - melrose, MA

“So so sorry to hear of Roberts passing. Our love and condolences to Rose and the family. May he Rest In Peace. ”
13 of 21 | Posted by: Teresa and Nando Gentile - Boston, MA

“We are so sorry to hear of Robert's passing. He and all of you are in our hearts and prayers. Love, the Slottje family ”
14 of 21 | Posted by: Brenda Furlong - Charlottesville, VA

“So sorry sending prayers ”
15 of 21 | Posted by: Karen Tolman Skurka - Cranston, RI

“In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always. Robert, I really cant believe this. I love you so much and could...Read More »
16 of 21 | Posted by: Anne Coppola - Boston, MA

“We all knew him as Bobby or "Bala" back at MHS. He had a great smile and was very sociable. Great looking black hair....all the most popular girls...Read More »
17 of 21 | Posted by: Chris Shea - South Weymouth, MA

“So sad to hear about Roberts struggles with cancer. We love your family so Much and keepYou all in our hearts and prayers! ”
18 of 21 | Posted by: The Goudreault's Goudreault - MA

“I will remember our conversations and you occupying my mind when visi ting my sister. With everything you were going through it didnt stop you from...Read More »
19 of 21 | Posted by: Kathleen Garcia - Revere, MA

“Over 50 years ago you couldn't help but notice Robert's smile in freshman homeroom or walking down the hall. A wonderful friend to many, he would...Read More »
20 of 21 | Posted by: Rosemary Beaudoin Kelley - FL

“The Gately Family and Staff wish to express our sincere sympathy to you. It is our hope that we may be able to make a difficult time more bearable....Read More »
21 of 21 | Posted by: John W. Gately, John H. Gately & Fred Sprague - MA

Robert J. Balestieri passed away at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers on March 21, 2020. He was 68 years old.

Robert grew up in Melrose, graduating from Melrose High School in 1970. Upon graduation, he joined the National Guard Reserves and served for six years. Following in his father and grandfather's footsteps, he made a career as a retailer in the produce business, first in the North End with his dad, then opening his own stores: Village Fruit, Inc., in Brookline Village, Washington Square in Brookline, and in Allston. He loved being able to introduce his loyal customers to the ever-growing exotic fruits and vegetables from around the world. A kind, generous soul, he was willing to help anyone in need. He was well-liked and respected by all who knew him. Growing up he enjoyed many summers on Long Beach in Rockport with his large extended family. It continued to be a place he loved throughout his life.

A man of many passions: he loved painting, reading, photography, cooking, and was a self-taught master wood craftsman, making all kinds of furniture and beautiful pieces. One-piece he was particularly proud of that combined his love for God and woodworking, was an intricate bible stand for the local church he attended for many years. In the past few years, some weekly highlights included spending Friday nights with his cousins and close friends, meeting his aunts and mom for coffee, and tinkering in his workshop. However, nothing gave him greater pleasure than spending time with his five children of whom he was very proud, quite often showing off their photos and videos and touting their many accomplishments to friends and relatives. He was, and his family continues to be, forever indebted to his family, cousins, friends, extended family, and the incredible team of doctors and nursing staff who cared for and supported him throughout his four-year heroic battle with cancer. Through their support, he was able to live life fully until the very end.

Robert was the loving father of Alexander Balestieri of Shrewsbury, Chelsea Balestieri of Holliston, Bethany Balestieri of Maryland, Christina Balestieri and Andrew Balestieri of Holliston. Beloved son of Rose (Limone) Balestieri and her late husband Alfonso of Woburn. Cherished brother of John Balestieri of Somerville, Catherine Bourgeois and her husband James, Diane Monteiro and her husband Kenneth, of Woburn. Former husband of Amy Balestieri. Also survived by many close nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, cousins, family members and friends.

Due to the new directive from the state of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Funeral Director Association and all the current health concerns, the funeral service will be private. A memorial Mass in Robert's name will be held at a later date and an announcement will be posted when the date becomes available. Please feel free to send a card to family members, drop a card at the funeral home for the family, or send a message of condolence online by visiting

In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Robert Balestieri may be made to the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center by visiting or by check made payable to "Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center" with "Robert Balestier/Cancer Center" in the memo line. Contributions may be mailed to: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Office of Development, 330 Brookline Ave (OV), Boston, MA 02215.