Obituaries: Jan. 3, 2018

Robert Vincent Tomaselli


Robert Vincent Tomaselli, of the Altapass Community, Spruce Pine, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, at Brian Center Health and Rehabilitation in Spruce Pine. He was 88 years of age.

Robert was born to Anthony and Bertha Tomaselli. Anthony had immigrated to the United States in 1917. He was proud of his rich Italian heritage.

Robert joined the Navy Reserve before he graduated from high school. He transferred to the Massachusetts Army National Guard following his graduation in 1948, and he entered the U.S. Air Force at the beginning of the Korean Conflict.

He met the love of his life, Gerry, while he was in training at the Sandia Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their romance became long distance when he was transferred to England. Gerry followed him to England two years later (1953) where they were married.

Robert’s military assignments include locations in California, England, Italy, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Spain, Washington, D.C., and North Carolina.

Gerry and their growing family were able to be with Robert at many of his assignment locations. They were blessed with five children.

The family enjoyed camping trips in the California Mountains and the Italian Alps. They also had the opportunity to meet and visit Robert’s Italian family.

There were assignments on which the family could not accompany Robert. During these times, Gerry and the children were at home in Fayetteville.

Robert retired from the Air Force in 1971 as a Master Sargent. He had served his country for 22 years.

Following his retirement, the family remained in the Fayetteville area. Robert attended school and took on-the-job training to become a sewing machine repairman. They discovered the Spruce Pine area during a camping trip in the Blue Ridge Mountains and eventually made it their home.

Robert established a sewing machine repair business and became known as the Sewing Machine Doctor in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties. He retired from this business in 2015. He also learned the art of quilt making and over the years he made at least 80 quilts for members of his family.

Robert was a member of the Vietnam Veterans; Chapter 58 Mitchell County DAV; and the Retired Enlisted Military Veterans. He volunteered at Brian Center in Spruce Pine for 15 years. He was a member of the St. Lucien Catholic Church.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents and an infant son, Michael Frances.

Survivors are Robert’s wife, Gerry; four daughters, Roberta Revis (Reggie), Rebecca Greenhill (Ricky), Christine Tomaselli and Paula Rathy (Steve); one son, Anthony Tomaselli; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Services for Robert Tomaselli were noon Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, at the Western North Carolina Veterans Cemetery. Interment followed the service in the Western North Carolina Veterans Cemetery.

The Tomaselli family thank the staff of Spruce Pine Brian Center and Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge for the compassionate care they provided to Robert and his family; and to Joe Noser and Tom Green (members of St. Lucien Catholic Church) for their faithful companionship and compassion.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616