Gilbert Bandarra passed away peacefully the morning of Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Until 6 weeks before his passing, Gilbert led an active and vibrant life bringing love, joy and smiles to all who crossed his path – including spontaneously grabbing a dance partner if he heard a good song (even at 93!) He was often heard saying, “Activity is life and life is activity!”. Gilbert shared his amazing faith, never hesitating to offer a word of thanksgiving or a blessing. He was known as a gentle man who loved family and laughing and people and helping. He also loved being active, being outdoors, being alive, and music, singing and dancing, and his faith.
Born on October 8, 1927 in New Bedford, MA, Gil grew up on Frank Street where he lived with his parents, John and Agnes Bandarra (both deceased) and his siblings: Edward Bandarra, deceased (Maria); Evelyn Roderick (Charlie, deceased); Lillian Correia (Louie, deceased); John Bandarra, deceased (Mickey).
Gil left New Bedford High his senior year to proudly enlist in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served in the Hospital Corps as a Pharmacist Mate at Chelsea Naval Hospital, Chelsea, MA. After the war, Gil finished high school, graduated from Stonehill College, Class of '53 and went on to earn his Masters of Education from Bridgewater State College, Class of ’57. During his 39-year tenure teaching the sciences at Dartmouth High and Braintree High, Gil challenged over 5,500 students to "listen, have respect and learn, learn!" He continued to substitute teach into the 1990s and remained in contact with many of his students throughout his life.
While serving in the Navy, Gil courted Jovita Correia (now deceased) of Dartmouth, MA for several years until they wed on October 30, 1948. Their love story lasted just shy of 75 years. They were devoted to each other, their family and their friends. Once married they lived in the New Bedford area until moving to Norwell in 1964 where they lived for 56 years. In addition to family and friends, Gil and Jo enjoyed spending their time motor homing, travelling and dancing.
Gil was the beloved father of Diane Aberle (Brian, deceased) of Marshfield, MA; Linda Bandarra, deceased of Weymouth, MA; Paul Bandarra (Peggy) of Wrentham, MA; Amy Hatch of Fort Collins, CO; Kim Campia (Teddy) of Hyde Park, MA. He was also the Beloved Grandfather of Jennifer Walsh (Kevin); Kathryn Aberle; Eric Aberle; Meghan Aberle (deceased); Heather Sheehan; Allison Hatch; Corey Hatch and the Beloved Great Grandfather of Kevin and Liam Walsh; Sam, Carson and Raegan Aberle. His gentle, loving, kind and positive spirit was a gift and example to all.
During the past few years Gil was very active with both the Norwell and Marshfield Councils on Aging where he enjoyed sharing time with other veterans and seniors. Always the gentleman, he was quick with an offer to help, a kind word, a compliment or a playful flirt. Gil quickly discovered his enjoyment of Tai Chi and his natural talent for painting. In August 2020, Gil moved from the family homestead to All American Assisted Living at Wrentham. He adjusted quickly, making new friends amongst residents and staff alike – still dancing, welcoming all opportunities for new activities, helping and always sharing his gentle kindness, his positive and loving spirit and his deep sense of faith with all who crossed his path.
Gil will be missed by so many, some of whom knew him only very briefly. He inspired us, cared for us intensely and immensely, loved us without limits, and he made us smile.
By request of the family, all services will be private for immediate family members only.
The family is grateful for any donations made in lieu of flowers made in Gil’s name to Epilepsy Foundation New England at epilepsynewengland.org/take-action/ways-to-donate. Alternatively, donations in Gil’s name may be shared with the Norwell Council on Aging, PO Box 699, Norwell, MA 02061 and/or the Marshfield Council on Aging, 230 Webster Street, Marshfield MA 02050.
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