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Robert V. SpillaneFebruary 12, 2017
Robert Vincent Spillane of Salem, NH, 62, and formerly of Boston, MA, died Sunday, February 12, 2017 at Lowell General Hospital. The son of the late Ruth O. (Hambelton) Spillane and the late Timothy J. Spillane, Rob grew up in Boston the fourth of seven siblings. He graduated from Boston Latin School before continuing on to the University of Massachusetts Boston. At an early age, Rob showed his profound ability and love of music, a passion that stayed with him throughout his life. Among his many school accomplishments was performing as concertmaster in multiple city and state orchestras in such venues as Jordan Hall, the John Hancock Building Dorothy Quincy Suite and Symphony Hall. He also performed violin solos in England and Scotland as part of a touring ensemble, and with his Boston Latin orchestra-mates, played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. A gifted pianist, Rob also performed before many notable dignitaries, among them Arthur Fiedler. He formed his own band, Magic, at age 14 and went on to join the popular band Banned in Boston. Rob later formed a new band, Standing Room Only (SRO), that he led for more than 40 years. With his beautiful tenor voice, song-writing talent and perfect pitch, Rob and the world of music were closely intertwined. Rob and SRO produced several albums and served as musical hosts for celebrity sporting events and TV shows. Rob and SRO headlined many fundraising events for non-profit organizations, such as the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's (JDRF) Annual Walk for Diabetes on the Esplanade before crowds of 15,000 or more. Rob was a frequent guest on the Jordan Rich Show and the Larry Glick Show on WBZ Radio. Larry Glick introduced a “Where’s Rob?” segment to his program to highlight Rob and SRO live from their various performance venues. In the 80s he worked with Maurice Starr and the New Kids on the Block. Later Rob often opened for comedian Steve Sweeney. In Rob’s own words, he was, “The most famous musician you’ve never heard of.” Rob also loved all things sports and combined his musical career with many significant sports engagements. He was the band leader for Tommy Heinsohn’s Holding Court TV show and performed at several Celtics functions. He sang the National Anthem numerous times at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox. In addition to leading his own band and composing countless original pieces of music, Rob was a firm believer in instilling a love of music in every person he met. For years he taught music at St. Joseph’s School in Salem, NH, and helped children understand the richness and history of music. From individual student music lessons to full-blown holiday and event concerts, Rob led his students on a journey of musical discovery and appreciation. In his lifetime, Rob received many awards and recognitions, including the Song of the Year, Collective Works Songwriting Award. He was also a top finalist for the AARP Super Star 2015, traveling to Washington, D.C., to perform for world-renowned judges such as Randy Jackson. Above all else, Rob was a family man, dedicated to his beloved wife Monika (Rejt) Spillane. They wed in 1991. He was the devoted father of: Robert V. Spillane, Jr. and wife Amy of Londonderry; Catherine M. Gray of Goffstown; Joseph F. Spillane of Salem; and Gregory P. Spillane and his wife Bernice of Manchester. Rob was the loving stepfather to: Kristine Harper Lescinskas and husband Brian of Ridgefield, CT: Shelley Harper and partner John Coughlin of Salem, NH; and Elke Harper and husband Glen Narimatsu of Los Angeles, CA. He was the son-in-law of the late Katharina and Walter Rejt. Rob was the brother of Stephen A. Spillane and wife Anne of Centerville, MA and Margaret S. Bonilla and husband Carlos of Derry, NH. He was also a brother to: the late Timothy J. Spillane and wife Elayne of Westwood, MA; and the late Richard C. Spillane and the late David M. Spillane, both of Andover, MA; and the late Virginia S. Keaten and husband Leland of Andover, MA. Rob is survived by many beloved grandchildren, nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDFR).
Family and friends are invited to visiting hours on Monday February 20, 2017 from 4 to 7 pm at The Goundrey & Dewhirst Funeral Home, 42 Main Street, Salem, NH. A memorial Mass in Rob’s honor will be announced. To send an online condolence, please go to www.goundreydewhirstfuneral.com.