RIP Robert E. “Whitey” Tavares

Robert E. “Whitey” Tavares, 74, of Portsmouth passed away in Newport on Thursday November 4, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Deborah (Patterson) Tavares for the last 51 years.

Born in Fall River, MA, he was the son of the late Julio and Catherine (St. Angelo) Tavares.

Bob was raised in Bristol and was a graduate of Colt Memorial High School class of 1965. After high school Bob served our nation as a member of the United States Army. Bob earned his Master’s degree from Rhode Island College and went on to be a beloved teacher and Head of Middle School at St. Michael’s Country Day School in Newport. Although he moved to Portsmouth to raise his family, his heart always remained in Bristol. On most days, you could find him running the bike path and Colt State Park or catching up with friends downtown.

Bob met his wife, Deb, at Fort Meade, Maryland where they worked together at the base finance office in 1969. He quickly fell in love with her and her young daughter, Tracey, marrying in 1970. They moved back to his hometown of Bristol before moving to Portsmouth in 1976. After completing his degree, Bob taught briefly at Portsmouth Middle School before starting his career at St. Michael’s where he truly found his place and some of his closest friends.

Bob was a life-long runner and was one of the founding members of the Newport Running Club in the late 1970’s. He enjoyed many runs with that group, particularly with one of his closest friends, Matt Meierowitz. Running remained a passion for him throughout his life, and he completed 25 marathons. He passed that love down to his daughter, Tara. They completed two half marathons together.

Bob was also a long time New England Patriots fan, having been a season ticket holder since 1986 with his brother, Paul. He continued supporting his team most recently with his youngest grandson and very best friend, Charlie.

If you met Bob, you loved him. He never forgot a name or a birthday and always made time to reach out to the people he loved. He was passionate about his job, his hobbies, and most of all his family and friends. He was at his best in a room full of people, making them laugh or acknowledging them in a way that made them feel special. He inspired and encouraged everyone he met including the hundreds of children who passed through the halls of St. Michael’s Country Day School during his time there.

In retirement, Bob became an avid reader of American History and kept up his daily runs. He enjoyed spending the winters in Englewood, Florida with his wife and plenty of visits from family. He thrived at being a “Bob-Bob” to his grandchildren who loved him beyond measure. In the summers, he would even create a “Camp Bob-Bob” with plenty of activities and adventures for them to enjoy. He never missed a flag football game for Charlie or a ballet recital for Amelia and was our biggest cheerleader. He was eternally proud of his older grandsons, Randy and Dylan, the young men they have become and the 4 beautiful great-grandchildren they are raising.

In addition to his wife Deb, Bob also leaves behind his daughters: Tracey Tavares-Mayer and Tara Winston (Ted); his grandchildren: Randy Tavares (Sarah Eastwood), Dylan Tavares (Kelli), Charlie Winston, and Amelia Winston; his great grandchildren: Teagan Tavares, Tyler Tavares, Cameron Tavares, and Arya Tavares; his siblings: William Tavares (Lorena), Paul Tavares (Carol), and Julio Tavares (Heather Miguel); and many beloved friends.

Calling Hours will be held at Sansone Funeral Home, 192 Wood Street, Bristol on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, from 4-7 PM. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name can be made to the St. Michael’s Country Day School, 180 Rhode Island Avenue, Newport RI.


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