Cover photo for Robert J. Gardula's Obituary
Robert J. Gardula Profile Photo
1938 Bob 2024

Robert J. Gardula

December 30, 1938 — May 24, 2024

Fitchburg

Robert (Bob) J. Gardula left us on Friday May 24, 2024.  Bob was born in Fall River in 1938.  He was the son of Peter and Celia (Slusarz) Gardula.  Bob is survived by his loving wife Diane Rouleau-Gardula, his sister, Doris Levesque, his sons Michael, Eric, and Peter, seven grandchildren, Jack, Grant, Clark, Ryan, Ethan, Sofia, and Nicholas, and as their Wujek, Zoe and Arlo Manchester.   


A graduate of B.M.C Durfee High School, he went on to earn a BS ED in Earth Science at Bridgewater State University and a masters and PhD from the graduate school of Geography at Clark University.  While at Bridgewater, Bob participated in several extracurricular activities.  He was a member of the varsity soccer, basketball, tennis, and track teams. He received the Outstanding Scholar/Athlete award for the class of 1960.  He was inducted into the Bridgewater State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.  Bob’s athletic interests led to his successfully coaching soccer for youth and high school teams.  In 1984 his Wachusett Regional team captured the Massachusetts Division 1 boys soccer championship and he was named “Coach of the Year”  by the Massachusetts State Soccer Coaches Association. 


The inscription below his photo in his college yearbook described him as “capable, kind, responsible.  A reserved man who seldom talked about himself.”  That was Robert, always.  


Bob enjoyed nearly 40 years of employment in higher education. He was an assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Geology at Illinois State University, a professor in the Geography and Geology Department at Ohio State University in Athens, OH, and a professor in the Geo Physical Sciences Department at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, MA before retiring in 2003.

 

Retirement gave Bob time to pursue his love of photography.  Whether yearly visits to Cape Cod or travels throughout the states, he always composed beauty, drama, and fun in his hundreds of shots.  His favorite photo opportunities came during drives to capture the New England foliage.  Bob and Diane enjoyed traveling, exploring trails, hiking, snowshoeing, jogging, taking classes at Fitchburg State, and most of all, sharing their love of reading. 


Bob’s mornings included completing a crossword puzzle and Sudoku, always in ink.  His evenings ended with his nightly solitaire game on the computer.  His last game brought the total of games played to 23,264. Reading material included three newspapers a day and a book always at hand.  Whether waiting for the doctor, an oil change, Diane shopping, Bob grabbed those moments to read.  


During the pandemic Bob taught himself acrylic painting.  He painted every day during that time.  After the pandemic, he coninued to explore many painting ideas, including landscapes, abstract art, and still life.  He produced hundreds of beautiful scenes capturing many of the places he and Diane visited as well as many from his own imagination. 


The quiet life that most of us live is ours alone

to live, to watch pass and to fill as we please 

The stacks of books, the hundreds of photos and paintings

The carefully organized files

A story of quietude and peace we all need

to strive for from time to time 

 

Bob leaves behind a legacy of excellence in coaching, education, and friendship.


At Bob's request funeral services will be private. Green burial will take place at Pine Grove Cemetery in Westford. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Bridgewater State University Foundation, P.O. Box 42, Bridgewater, MA, 02324.

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