Robert J. "Bob" Salisbury – Smithfield

Robert J. "Bob" Salisbury – Smithfield

Robert J. "Bob" Salisbury, 80, died peacefully Saturday at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. He was the husband of the late Mary V. (Riordan) Salisbury. They had been married for 38 years.

Born in Providence, a son of the late Walter and Marguerite (Spencer) Salisbury, he moved to the Esmond section of Smithfield as a young boy. He always spoke of the move as a blessing because it ignited within him a deep love for the town of Smithfield, his home of more than 70 years.

Mr. Salisbury was a proud graduate of La Salle Academy in 1957. He graduated from Providence College in 1961 with a degree in Education and earned his Master's degree from Rhode Island College in 1969.

He began his career in education as a teacher at the Smithfield Junior High School on Old County Road and moved to Smithfield High School upon the school’s founding in 1966. He served in a number of roles at Smithfield High School. He started as a guidance counselor, became assistant principal and finished his career as the school’s principal before retiring in 1997. Mr. Salisbury was the school’s first athletic director. He coached the school’s baseball team for 20 years. In fact, he was the father of interscholastic baseball in Smithfield. As a young junior high school teacher in 1962, he asked the school’s administration for permission to start a baseball team and his request was granted.

Mr. Salisbury’s love for the town of Smithfield and its high school shined in his dedication to young students and athletes. He took service to youth seriously and made a positive impact on countless lives. Bob stayed connected to and was active with Smithfield High School long after his retirement and loved his role as public address announcer for the Sentinels' home football games.

Mr. Salisbury was proud to have been a member of the first Little League baseball team ever assembled in Smithfield in 1951. His affiliation with and love for the Smithfield Little League and the game of baseball continued until his death. In 2007, Bob was unanimously inducted into the Smithfield Heritage Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the R.I. Interscholastic Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Mr. Salisbury carried the life lessons he learned at La Salle Academy and Providence College throughout his life. He was a communicant at St. Philip Church in Greenville and a man of quiet and deep faith.

He is survived by his daughter, Amy E. Paul and her husband, Dennis, of Greenville; and three sons, James T. Salisbury and his wife, Ann, of West Chester, Pa.; Jeffrey R. Salisbury and his wife, Jennifer, of North Woodstock, N.H.; and Robert J. Salisbury Jr., and his partner, Angela Lacy, of Nashua, N.H.; and five grandchildren: Ryan and Lauren Paul of Greenville and Mary Rose, Caroline and Grace Salisbury of West Chester, Pa.

He also leaves his sister, Marguerite "Peg" Gould, of Johnston, and longtime companion and best friend Andrea Gledhill of Greenville. They, along with his beloved daughter, Amy, were at his bedside on Saturday. He was the brother of the late Jacqueline Salisbury.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, June 28, at 9:30 a.m., in St. Philip Church, 622 Putnam Pike, Greenville. Burial will follow in Highland Memorial Park Cemetery, Johnston. Visitation, to which relatives and friends are invited, will be held Thursday, June 27, from 4 to 8 p.m., in the Anderson-Winfield Funeral Home, Route 44 at Greenville Common, Greenville.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to The Thomas F. Gerlach Scholarship Fund, c/o Smithfield High School, 90 Pleasant View Avenue, Smithfield, RI 02917-2147 or Shriners Hospital for Children of Philadelphia, 3551 North Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19140.

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