We Bid Farewell to a Great Friend
On August 15, 2017, we learned that we had lost a great friend—Bob Sostilio. Just as we cared deeply for Bob and his family, he cared about me and my family as if we were truly part of his. To say that Bob was an industry veteran or analyst or even go through his résumé would not do justice to the kind of man he was or the life he led.
Bob was a highly principled man who endured great physical pain for several months so he could take care of his wife Gail, who was ill. He put off badly needed surgery until he was comfortable with Gail’s ability to take care of herself while he was in the hospital. That was the essence of Bob’s character: Take care of those you love first and then serve your country.
As his obituary detailed, Robert F. Sostilio was president and CEO of Sostilio & Associates International, Inc., of Ocala, Florida. He passed away on August 12, 2017. He was born November 17, 1942, in Boston. Bob attended schools in Newton, Massachussetts, as well as Huntington Prep in Boston and the University of Maine at Orono. During the Vietnam era, he served as a winged crewman with helicopter Squadron Nine aboard USN carriers Essex and Randolph.
He received aircrew wings in 1966 and the National Defense Service medal in 1967. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America and the American Legion Post 0027 of Marion County Florida.
When released from the Navy, Bob joined Saxon Industries and was appointed to the Product Assurance team for Saxon Copystatics before becoming an international service manager for Saxon Export Corporation. He traveled globally for Saxon and was highly regarded for his skills to diagnose machine failures and provide some kind of fix.
In addition he held these positions:
• National OEM Manager for Panasonic Industrial Company of America;
• National copier service manager for Monroe Systems for Business;
•Copier service manager for Cybernet International;
• Associate director at Dataquest’s Copying and Duplicating Industry Service;
• Several positions at Ricoh Corp., including director of strategic planning, director of product marketing, and product program manager;
• Senior group service director at CAP Ventures;
• Senior product manager at Kyocera Mita, national copier service manager.
Bob attended the University of Maine and Broward Junior College. He was an accomplished Toastmaster and keynoted many conferences in the United States, Asia, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. He spoke at trade shows and dealer meetings, and had been quoted in major international and U.S. publications.
He is survived by Gail, his wife of 51 years, and two sisters, Amy Jo White and Christine Buscemi of Northborough and Needham, Massachusetts, respectively, along with nephews and cousins.
Bob, Mario Lenci, Bob Magrino and I met while working at Saxon Industries. The highlight of being in the “Four Amigos” was attending a Mita dealer meeting when Magrino asked Sostilio and me to bring Mario to a special meeting room where we surprised and roasted Mario on his 60th birthday.
Mario still has the video of it, and it is one of the funniest things I have ever been involved with. The height of the evening was when a sizeable female wrester walked onto the stage with a boa wrapped around her neck and starting throwing Mario from one end of the stage to the other.
Sostilio, Lenci, and I would always make time for at least the three of us to have dinner during the NOMDA and later, the BTA conventions. It was our night to break away and catch up on what was going on with our respective families. I have never known two guys I cared for more. We have travelled a long road—sometimes together and sometimes apart. However, we always listened to each other and highly valued each other’s opinions. Being Italian, it was always a question who was the biggest “capatosta,” Italian slang for “hard head” or a person who would not listen to reason. Truthfully, I think I won the title.
When we the three of us first met, I was pushing a copier cart around Wall and John Street in lower Manhattan. Mario was regional service manager for the Northeast, and I am not sure which one of the jobs Sostilio was holding at the time. That was close to 46 years ago.
I had the unfortunate duty of calling Mario who is caring for his very ill wife, Trudi, to break the bad news. “I want to cry,” he said. “Go ahead and I will join you,” I responded.
Bob Sostilio had a deep faith and an abiding belief that we are all in God’s hands. Rest well my friend. You have earned your eternal reward because you have truly been one of our Lord’s most faithful servants.