Robert L. “Bob” Flaitz, Sr., 86, formerly of 106 Thacher St., Hornell passed away peacefully Friday morning (March 19, 2021) with his daughter by his side at Elderwood at Hornell Nursing Facility where he resided following a long illness.
Born in Hornell on February 1, 1935, he was the son of Leon and Lena (Saxton) Flaitz.
Growing up in Hornell, Bob was a graduate of Hornell High School (class of 1953) where he excelled in many sports. As a senior, he was named “Athlete of the Year” and at times was called “Mr. Basketball”. Bob names All-County scorer in baskeball was unanimously selected First Team All-Sectionals, First Team All County and was selected MVP in both basketball and football. He later became one of the first inductees into the Hornell High School Sports Hall of Fame. During his high school years, Bob also spent many hours at the Hornell City Pool as a lifeguard. Upon graduation, Bob enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Drill Sergeant. He was stationed in Parris Island, SC from 1953-1956. Upon returning home Bob attended Brockport State College, Alfred State College Corning Community College and Broome Tech.
Bob spent most of his life in Hornell where he held many different service positions. He spent 20 years as a police officer for the Hornell Police Department. During his early years at the department, Bob served as a motor officer, riding a motorcycle and checking the meters on Main Street. He aided in delivering babies, was instrumental in saving lives and received citations for Valor in the Line of Duty. In 1966 he was awarded “Policeman of the Year.” He retired as a sergeant at HPD.
Throughout the years, Bob was employed as a Prudential Insurance Company Salesman; a laborer at Foster Wheeler of Dansville; and was later employed at the North Hornell Police Department where he served as Chief of Police for 17 years. Following his “retirement,” Bob worked as a collections officer at Steuben Trust Company, owned & operated a street painting business in Hornell and officially retired as the head of security at Morrison-Knudsen in Hornell.
In addition to his many jobs, Bob also served as a 1st Ward Alderman for the City of Hornell for several years and later was awarded the “Key to the City” after being named “Republican of the Year” in Hornell. He was a member of Christ Episcopal Church where he served as a Vestryman for several years. He was a past member of the Hornell Elks Lodge, Hornell American Legion & Hornell Police Club.
Bob was a “Sports Fanatic” who loved coaching the youth of Hornell. He was active in Little League Baseball, JV Football and Vince Lombardi Football. He coached Midget League Football (the Cowboys) for many years earning many championship trophies. He coached the Christ Episcopal team at the YMCA’s Sunday School Basketball League. He was also part of the coaching staff for the Hornell Red Raiders Football team in the early 1980’s. He also held a certification as a basketball referee. Bob was an avid New York Yankee & New York Giants fan and enjoyed playing golf. He and his wife, Donna, spent many years traveling around attending their grandchildren’s many sporting events. He was a very proud grandfather and enjoyed representing the various high schools, Colleges and Pant Saggin Dezign attire. He will be remembered for his great storytelling at family gatherings and his famous reaction to all things funny “rubbing his hands together with excitement.”
Bob was preceded in death by his brothers, Samuel Flaitz, Richard Flaitz, George Flaitz, & Donald Flaitz; along with his sisters, Geraldine “Dean” McLane and Kathryn House.
On December 21, 1954, Bob married the love of his life and high school sweetheart, Donna Piccirillo who survives. Also surviving are two sons, Robert (Lori) Flaitz of Hornell and Joseph (Meghan) Flaitz of Hornell; one daughter, Nikki (William) Harkenrider of Canisteo; six grandchildren, Nick Flaitz, Erin (Kyle) Morrison, Ryan Flaitz, Curt (Dominica) Flaitz, Zachery & Richie Harkenrider; six great-grandchildren, Rowdy, Rebelle, Rayder & Raddix Flaitz, Ginny and Cecilia Morrison, one step-great- granddaughter, Emma Morrison; one brother, Jacob Flaitz of Arkport; and one sister-in-law, Delores Flaitz of Hornell; many special nieces & nephews.
The family of Robert L. Flaitz Sr. will receive friends on Saturday, April 3rd 2021 from 12:00 Noon – 2:00 PM at the Dagon Funeral Home, 38 Church Street, Hornell, NY. A private Memorial Service will be held at the convenience of the family with Deacon Robert McCormick officiating. Final interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
The Memorial Service for Robert L. Flaitz will be streamed via YouTube and can be viewed on the Dagon Funeral Home Facebook page on Saturday, April 3rd , 2021 at 2:30 PM by visiting www.facebook.com/dagonfuneralhome . The video will remain available for viewing on our Facebook page for 30 days.
Robert’s family requests that memorial contributions in his name be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester & Finger Lakes Region Chapter, 435 East Henrietta Rd., Rochester, NY 14620 or the Hornell Humane Society, 7649 Industrial Park Road, Hornell, NY 14843. Memorial forms will be available at the Dagon Funeral Home.
To leave an online condolence or print a memorial form, visit www.dagonfuneralhome.com
In recognition of Bob’s service to his country, the American Flag at the Dagon Funeral Home will be flown at half-staff.