Robert Romeo "Bob" Gelsi, 61, a lifelong resident of Vineland, passed away on Thursday, August 8th at his home surrounded by his family after a long, courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born during a snowstorm on March 21st, 1958 to Romeo and Evangeline (Dauito) Gelsi. Bob was a member of the North Vineland Fire Department for 42 years, and was named Firefighter of the Year in 1994. Many knew him as "the Mustang guy", after he founded Gelsi's Mustang World, where he focused on award-winning restorations of classic Mustangs (64 ½- 73).
He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He spent so much time on the water he once got tangled with Viking Ships headed to the Smithsonian. Bob had a way of attracting unique situations, including an appearance on David Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks with his "flying dog", Duke. He also met many NASCAR legends during his years as a volunteer fundraiser with the Burn Foundation. His love for racing didn't stop at NASCAR, either. For many years, Bob was involved with the Family Hobby Raceway, the oldest RC racetrack in the country. He also owned and operated the East Coast Race Truck Series from 1998-2009.
Bob is survived by his wife, Debbie (DuVilla); daughter Dawn; son-in-law Nick Collins; grandson Nate; sister Pati (Jim) Madden and aunt Sarah (Dauito) Armellini. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, and many beloved pets.
Funeral home visitations will be held on Tuesday evening from 5 to 8 pm and again on Wednesday morning from 8:15-9:15am at Rone Funeral Service, 1110 E. Chestnut Avenue, Vineland. A funeral mass will be held Wednesday at 10 am from Our Lady Of The Blessed Sacrament Parish, St. Rose Of Lima Church, 104 Catawba Avenue, Newfield. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.
ARRANGEMENTS are under the supervision of Rone Funeral Service, 1110 East Chestnut Avenue, Vineland, NJ 08360
The family requests that donations in Bob's memory may be made to: North Vineland Fire Company #3, 185 W Forest Grove Rd., Vineland, NJ 08360
To send online condolences please visit our website at www.RONEFUNERALSERVICE.com