Robert “Bob” Picerne lived and loved big. He loved his family; he loved his friends and he embraced adventure with all its risks. When his life ended suddenly, it left a wake of grief for all who loved him back.
Originally from Rhode Island, Bob displayed early on a natural affinity for entrepreneurship when at age 16 he started his own home painting business. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire and ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Behavior from Brown University. His degree proved helpful in the real world where he and his former wife, Gwyn, adopted 16 children to join the two they already had. The couple were married 26 years and ultimately formed an adoption agency.
Bob served in the business started by his family in 1925 – Picerne Development, one of the nation’s leading commercial development companies. He also owned a wide variety of business ventures. In business, his ability to connect with others served him well. But even more important to Bob was connecting with and nurturing his children, all of whom remember their father as caring, fun-loving and a champion of their bringing home good grades. He was a hands-on dad. Daughters Bridget and Hannah recall when their beloved dad cared for them on days when they were sick and stayed home from school. “I’m going to miss every time I was sick and he took care of me even if he was busy and just wanted me to feel better,” recalled Hannah.
Collectively, Bob’s children carry memories of a father who was present. Daughter Alexandria says her father, “…understood me when nobody did.” The siblings’ shared recollections include jet skiing with their father, working on cars together, watching movies, learning how to drive a boat, snow skiing, cooking and most importantly, just talking and spending time with him. He collected cars and historic bibles. He believed so strongly in education that one of his biggest thrills in life was to receive an honorary doctorate from Livingstone College, a historical black college in North Carolina.
Son, Chase, characterized his father as Superman. “The only difference is that for him, he needed a plane to fly.” And Bob did fly; he owned his own Cessna and frequently took friends and kids with him in his travels. Meanwhile, his posse of buddies, some of whom he met on the ice rink at RDV Sports for pick up hockey games, remember Bob’s love of sports, specifically hockey.
As generously as he loved at home, he loved equally as large socially. Successful in business, Bob had the ability to help others as he saw fit. He defined philanthropy by giving generously, broadly, and most of all quietly. His greatest joy was giving anonymously to individuals and organizations, and the breadth of his contributions to those in need was profound. If he saw a need, he wasn’t shy about asking his friends to step up join him to make a positive difference. Bob’s attitude was always that everything would be fine.
Family was everything to Bob. Son Martin said his father gave him the greatest gift that can’t be repaid, “a family.” Daughter Chandler said what she will miss greatly is hearing Bob sing at the top of his lungs “What A Wonderful World”; a wonderful world is what Bob Picerne created for family and friends. He is sorely missed.
Mr. Picerne is survived by his children Davey Welch, Andrei Picerne, Lida Picerne, Martin Picerne, Chandler Stephens, Chase Picerne, Violet Picerne, Kryique Picerne, Natalie Picerne, Ezra Picerne, Ally Picerne, Hannah, Picerne, Bridget Picerne, Ezekiel Picerne, Aiden Picerne, and Angie Picerne; grandchildren Layla and Daxton Fike; father Ron Picerne; siblings David Picerne, Donna Picerne Uritescu, Jeanne Picerne, Ken Picerne, John Picerne; wife Josephina Noelle Picerne.
Funeral services will take place on Friday, January 10, 2020 at First Baptist Orlando, 3000 S John Young Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32805. Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 AM, followed by the funeral service beginning at 11 AM.
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