Robert Rhuda
January 8, 2017

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  Robert Edward Rhuda, retired General Director in Finance Services at John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, passed away peacefully on Sunday afternoon, January 8, 2017. He was 78 years old.

Bob was born and raised in Somerville, one of four children born to Arthur and Evelyn Rhuda, and was a graduate of Somerville High School. Somerville was a special place for Bob, filled with many memories and life-long friends. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S Marine Corp and served for two years before he was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal. Bob was proud to have served his country and to call himself a U.S. Marine.

Bob had an incredible work ethic and desire to make a better life for himself and his family. Following his military service, Bob married his loving wife of 53 years, had the first of four children and enrolled at Boston University. To support his growing family and pay for college, Bob worked from Midnight to 8 a.m. at the Dewey and Almy Chemical Co. in Cambridge, where his father was plant foreman. He would attend classes all day and spend time with his family, before trying to find a few precious hours for sleep. It was a relentless four years, but Bob graduated with a BS Degree in accounting and began his 30 year career with John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. Starting as an internal auditor, he worked his way up through the ranks, being recognized for his work ethic and knowledge at every level, until earning the title of General Director. Bob thoroughly enjoyed both his career and the many colleagues/friends he served with at Hancock over the years.

Though born and raised in Somerville, the town of Burlington was Bob’s home and he was active during his 42 years living in the community. He was a proud 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus where he served as leader and mentor for the Columbian Squires (the K of C’s youth organization), worked bingo, enjoyed countless K of C socials, and was a regular participant in the annual Tootsie Roll drive to raise funds for the K of C Exceptional Children’s Fund. Bob believed deeply in the principles and values of the Knights of Columbus and did his best to and uphold and share those values throughout his life. In addition to his work as a Knight, Bob also served as Committee Chairman for the Cub Scouts, (taking the leadership role at a time when the pack was on the verge of shutting down) and as an assistant coach with Burlington Youth Soccer. He was a longtime parishioner at St. Barbara’s Church, where he and his wife would occupy the same pew at the Saturday 4 o’clock mass. Bob deeply appreciated all of the well wishes, prayers, and support so generously given by his fellow Knights, neighbors and parishioners during his illness.

Bob’s home was a very special place for him and his family. The backyard pool was the gathering spot for neighbors, friends, and extended family members. He had one simple rule - you had to pass his swimming test before being allowed in the pool. If a child couldn’t swim he wouldn’t send them away, but rather, take them aside and teach them. Over the years he taught many children to swim and loved to see them enjoying the water with their friends. Bob’s family Fourth of July parties were epic. The pool was filled with kids and Bob was at the grill, wearing his bucket hat and tending to the burgers and hot dogs. He also loved spending Friday nights with his neighborhood friends playing poker and his weekly cribbage games at the K of C. Bob loved his home, his family, neighbors, and community and considered himself blessed to have lived such a full and, meaningful life.

Above all, Bob was the loving husband of Ellen Marie (Murray) Rhuda for 53 years and the loving father of Janet Brodnitz & her husband Peter of Arlington, VA, Jennifer Soucy & her husband Mark of Wilmington, Robert E. Rhuda, Jr. & his wife Kristin of E. Bridgewater, and Kathryn Gluck & her husband Bryan of Billerica. He was the brother of Richard Rhuda of Stoneham, the late Arthur Rhuda and Marilyn Redmond. Bob was the proud “Papa” of Matthew & Ethan Brodnitz, Clare Soucy, Thomas & Grace Rhuda, and Sara & Natalie Gluck. He was also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Funeral from the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., BURLINGTON (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Barbara’s Church, 138 Cambridge Rd, Woburn at 10 a.m. Visiting hours Friday from 4-8 p.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. The interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Robert’s name may be made to the Knights of Columbus Exceptional Children’s Fund, P.O. Box 25, Burlington, MA 01803.
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