Robert Daniel Gavilo
Nashville – (Bob) Robert Daniel Acevedo Gavilo, 79, passed away peacefully on December 19, 2022. He was a loving son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend.
Bob was born on October 25, 1943, in Brooklyn, New York, to Carmen Acevedo-Gavilo (from Puerto Rico) and Narciso Gavilo(from the Philippines). He grew up in Brooklyn with loving parents, a sister, cousins, and extended family. The cousins would mix it up on Brooklyn’s streets and playgrounds. He once recounted that another gang challenged his family for infringing on their territory, and they initiated a West Side Story-like, albeit much tamer fistfight. Bob, one of the smallest cousins, picked one of the largest opponents to scare off; he was promptly knocked out, and the cousins quickly dispersed. That was the beginning of the end of his time in Brooklyn once he was found out. The family soon moved to South Florida by way of California.
Bob’s family ran and, for a time, lived in the back of a small bodega named after his mother, ‘Carmencita.’ Their first family home in Miami had no air-conditioning (instead, jalousie windows and screens), no washer/dryer, and no indoor toilet for several years. He did not fully realize how poor his family was growing up because he always had food, family, and a home filled with music and laughter. His father, Narciso, gave him a violin and paid his sister’s piano teacher to provide lessons. Later, his junior high and Miami Edison Senior High School orchestra teachers eventually stepped in to teach him and ignited his lifelong love for music. He excelled in academics, music, and sports; he managed to outrun and outjump the star athletes accidentally while running home from school and was recruited onto the track team. His coach gifted him used track shoes, and he continued that tradition by giving friends running shoes throughout his life and encouraging them to run over fivemarathons and long-distance races with him. He was an avid runner and tennis player for most of his life.
Bob attended Miami Dade Community College and later Louisiana State University on a violin scholarship, thanks to the intervention and support of his high school orchestra teacher.After completing his undergraduate degree, he enlisted in the United States Army, anticipating deployment to the Vietnam War. However, an unknown Colonel intervened, pulling him from his unit and sending him to Germany because Bob’s nondescript features put him at risk of being mistaken for Vietnamese.
In the Army, Bob worked in records and pulled extra nighttime guard and library duties to earn extra money to help support his family. In the library, the officer’s wives would ask him for book recommendations, so he spent time reading every book he could lay his hands on, poetry, philosophy, romances, mythology, andmusic history. He became an accidental avid reader and lifetime learner.
When he returned to civilian life, he went to Miami Dade Community College to take a career assessment and aptitude testto seek advice and direction. After exhausting the available career assessments, he finally mustered the courage to ask out the young woman administering the tests. Thankfully my mother, Marie Moore, found him charming and agreed to that first coffee date. The two eventually found a Catholic priest that would agree to marry the ‘interracial couple’ on June 27th in Miami, Florida, and they were married for 18 years. He later remarried Zilkia M. Rodriguez and divorced a number of years later.
Bob returned to school and completed an MBA with a major in accounting at the University of Miami. Soon after, he began working for the Miami Dade County Public School System’s accounting division. He worked his way up from clerk to accounting manager. He built some of the first computers for the school system and ported the accounting system from paper files to Excel. After being given responsibility for federal accounting and reporting, he was offered an administrator position, which he declined because he disliked managing personnel and attending meetings. He said that he much preferred solving math problems to solving people problems.
He realized his dream of being a full-time musician when he retired from the school system. He played first viola in several Miami Dade armature orchestras and would host baroque chamber music sessions weekly at his home. He was constantly working on his craft and gifted his love of the violin to his grandson, Connor. He was a doting grandfather to Connor and Drew Lane and took great pride in their artistic abilities.
While many would characterize Bob as thrifty, bordering on cheap, it was not readily known that he paid off medical bills,drug rehabilitation, college tuition, and mortgages to help support family and friends. On multiple occasions, he gifted his car to family and friends that could not afford a vehicle. Every year of his life, he sent money to his parents, sister, nieces, and nephew to ease their burden. He also gave his time, managingthe accounting for local non-profit orchestras, volunteering with music programs to encourage young musicians, and playingchamber music at Cleveland Clinic for sick patients and their families. He quietly and lovingly supported countless family, friends, and community organizations.
Bob often remarked that he grew up in a “silent home” due tolanguage barriers with his parents, but music helped bridge thegap. He adored his older sister, with whom he would often play duets and go thrifting. He also opened his home to two nieces for several years and helped raise them during challenging times.
There are too many ‘Bob stories’ to possibly recount. His deep abiding love and contagious laughter were at the heart of every story. He will be missed.
Bob is preceded in death by his father, Narciso Gavilo, and his mother, Carmen Acevedo Gavilo. He is survived by his daughter, Laurie Gavilo-Lane, his grandson, Connor Harrison Lane, and his granddaughter, Drew Marie Lane.
A memorial service is not planned at this time. We will visit friends and family in south Florida this summer to celebrate his life.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Bob’s honor to St. Jude Children’s Hospital https://www.stjude.org/donate/ or Agape Animal Rescue https://www.agaperescue.org/donate/