Robert P. Secaur, 92, died peacefully on March 7, 2020 after a brief stay at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. Bob married Ellen (“Biddy”) Corrigan in 1949 and they recently celebrated their 70th anniversary. He grieved her recent death (on December 5, 2019) profoundly and now they are reunited.
Bob is survived by his children: Suzanne (and Jim) Brady, Cynthia Day, Beth (and Bill) Westfall, Monica (and Paul) Raad, Jason Secaur, and Aimee (and Mike) Kool; his grandchildren: Caitlin Maratea, Alethea Brady, Amanda Day VanSwearingen, Zachary Day, Eric Secaur, Robert Raad (his namesake), Juliette Raad, Aaron Secaur and April Secaur; his greatgrandchildren: Hannah Secaur, Quinn Secaur, Reagan Runsvold, and Brady Runsvold; and several nieces and nephews. He was especially comforted in recent months by telephone calls from his niece Patty Gurak and his lifelong friend Millie Bondy.
Bob was predeceased by his beloved son, Scott Secaur, in 2016, and by his parents, Lee and Catherine Secaur and by his brothers, Lee, Joseph, William and James. Many years ago, Bob had the honor of visiting the gravesite of his brother Lee, who was killed in battle in Europe in World War II.
Bob graduated from West High School in Auburn, New York in 1945. His high school yearbook described him as the person with “the mildest manners and the gentlest heart.” He enlisted in the U.S. Marines Corps just before his 18th birthday and served in World War II. Following that, he worked for the New York Telephone Company for 42 years, starting as a lineman and later transferring to their control center in Syracuse. His co-workers at the Telephone Company called him “Smiley” because of his easygoing and friendly attitude. He was the favorite grill man at the Telephone Company clambakes.
Bob worked hard to provide for his big family and early in his career did a little bartending at the Sicz Club, where he also enjoyed Friday night bowling. When he moved to Marcellus, he rode the Onondaga Coach bus to work in Syracuse almost every day and sat in the front seat so he could chat with the bus driver, his brother Bill.
Even in retirement, Bob worked part-time at West Hill Golf Course in Camillus, New York, where he enjoyed the occasional round of golf, even sinking a hole-in-one. He also worked at the Carrier Dome, where he became a loyal fan of the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team. He enjoyed traveling with his wife Biddy, often including their best friend, Evelyn Mizro, who completed the three amigos. During part of their retirement, Bob and Biddy lived in Binghamton, New York, near their daughter Beth. Bob loved to go to Tioga Downs Casino and had the golden touch on the slot machines there.
Bob was the true family man and devoted his life to his wife and children and grandchildren. His world was complete when he knew that all was well with his family. He was unabashedly proud of his children and would tell everyone about their accomplishments. Having a big family came in handy for the many moves, from Frances Street to Anna Street in Auburn and then to Marcellus and Binghamton and Winston-Salem.
Bob was a huge chocolate fan and would receive countless Hershey bars and chocolate chip cookies from friends and family. However, his all-time favorite was the decadent chocolate pie made by his son Jason and served by his wife on special occasions. He was completely relaxed with a beer and popcorn and some chocolate while cheering on Coach Boeheim and the Orangemen, or watching a WWII movie. He loved a good mystery and a Louis L’Amour western and often had two or three books going at the same time.
The family called Bob the “energizer bunny” because he triumphed over so many illnesses and surgeries during his lifetime. In recent years, he and his wife moved to North Carolina and lived with their daughter Cynthia until the end of their lives.
A memorial service will be held for both Bob and Biddy Secaur on April 17, 2020 in St. Mary’s Church, Auburn. Interment will follow in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Auburn. Condolences may be sent to the family online at whitechapelfh.com
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