Robert Lanieri, the longtime director of food services at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center and former Riverhead Chamber of Commerce president, died suddenly at his South Jamesport home Thursday. He was 60.
“He was a good friend and confidant who never had a bad word to say about anyone, and would help anyone in need,” said Ray Pickersgill, the president of the downtown Business Improvement District management association. “I will miss our weekly conservations. He really loved his family and spoke fondly of his new marriage and his children. I will miss him terribly, but he will always be in my thoughts.”
“Bob Lanieri was a wonderful man,” said Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter. ” My heart and prayers go out to his family. He was always such a happy and gregarious guy. I am so sorry for everyone that this has happened.”
The town police department will be reaching out to the aquarium to offer grief counseling to employees there, if needed, he said.
Mr. Lanieri married his wife, Diane, just last November. Her previous husband, former town Republican leader Bruce Stuke, died of cancer in 2008.
“I feel so bad for Diane and her daughters,” Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy said. “It’s sad. All my sympathy goes out to her.”
“Bob’s legacy will manifest itself each day for decades and decades ahead,” said current town Republican leader John Galla, who worked with Mr. Lanieri both on the Chamber of Commerce and in the Republican committee. “As the special events coordinator and a prime mover for Atlantis/Hyatt, Bob not only believed in downtown, he proudly was a vital member of a superbly talented team of professional executives that had the savvy ‘know how’ and the keen ability to make things happen.”
Mr. Galla said Mr. Lanieri was not a member of the Republican committee, but often volunteers to help them with events.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Diane, who is the Republican committee’s secretary as well as a Suffolk County deputy treasurer. He was the loving father of Robert, Christy, “Jenna” and their mother, Catherine; Beth Koroleski, Cori & Ezra Fife and Kacie Koroleski. He was Grand Bob to York, the dear son of Philip Sr., brother of Philip Jr. and Edna Lanieri-Dewitt, and a loving uncle to Edna, Danny, Rory, Alexandria, Philip and Anthony.
A memorial visitation for Mr. Lanieri will be held at McLaughlin-Heppner Funeral Home, 336 Marcy Ave., Riverhead, on Monday, June 17, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m., with a memorial service being said at 8 p.m.
The family requests memorial donations be made to Contractors for Kids, 1316 Motor Parkway, Islandia, NY 11749.