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Robert Dellacona

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Memories & Candles

“Oh dear Bob - I am deeply sad to now learn another part of my life is gone - those magic moments we shared on your few encounters, the intimacy we...Read More »
1 of 9 | Posted by: Olaf Sommer - Plüderhausen

“A true friend is never truly gone. Their spirit lives on in the memories of those who loves them. Some truth in life are hard to accept. Your...Read More »
2 of 9 | Posted by: Richard Flores - Rego Park, NY

“Bob was a dear,sweet,caring human being.He always encouraged me,& always had a kind word.We both celebrated our anniversary in september.I will...Read More »
3 of 9 | Posted by: David Black - Bronx, NY - friend

“Oh, Bob, I will miss you! What amazing experiences we had in our early days! You were always such an adventurer, such a seeker! We shared countless...Read More »
4 of 9 | Posted by: Bliss Holland - Denver, CO

“44 years ago in the rooms of recovery we met. Your love of life and enthusiasm for recovery touched me. When you visited my/our home in Piermont we...Read More »
5 of 9 | Posted by: Roger Radley - Fresno, CA

“May ur soul be @peace ”
6 of 9 | Posted by: Leonard Rocco Rocco - Bloomfield, NJ

“Rest well dear friend. ”
7 of 9 | Posted by: Sophia Pazos - New York, NY

“My dear Bobby, so sad that this day had to come. You were such an inspiration for my life and such a great mentor during my time in New York. And god...Read More »
8 of 9 | Posted by: Hans-Lothar Huhn - Friend

“A dedicated and loving man of spiritual depth and authentic humility, as well as great sense of humor. Bob was special and we will miss him. ”
9 of 9 | Posted by: Eileen and Gary Gatza - New York, NY

Wheat Emblem

Robert Dellacona, the "Mayor of Greenwich Village" who also started the highly successful "Maid in New York" cleaning service, died on Friday, October 8th, from cancer.

From his perch overlooking West Fourth Street Dellacona, known as Robert, Bobby D., Bob, Uncle Robert, and Qayyum, each representing the various social and spiritual circles he belonged to, came to befriend everyone in the neighborhood during his 50 years there.

Dellacona was born at St. Elizabeth's Hospital to a Neapolitan Italian family in working class Brooklyn on June 24, 1945. He was precocious and industrious, considered the smartest kid in his class. He started kindergarten at four, graduated high school at 16, and went to Canisius College in Buffalo, becoming the first college graduate in his family.

At the same time, his childhood was not without struggle. From an early age, Dellacona attempted to reconcile being gay with his Catholic upbringing. Though he took steps to become a priest and moved to a monastery to study the Passionist order, he found it was not his vocation.

In 1972, he moved to New York City, took out a $28 ad in the Village Voice, and started an apartment cleaning service. He worked every day and night. Within three months, he needed help, hired staff, and named his newly founded operation "Maid in New York." Soon the company employed over 100 people and became known as one of the premier cleaning services of homes, offices, and retail facilities throughout Manhattan and the outer boroughs. But while his business took off, his personal life began to fall apart.

A friend brought Dellacona to a 12-step group where his recovery began and continued for over 46 years, during which his sponsorship and counsel comforted innumerable people. Many credit him with saving their lives.

Through recovery Dellacona discovered meditation and was drawn deeper into the mystical side of life. He found his way to a Sufi community at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, NY, where he was initiated into the Sufi order in the early 1990s, frequently attended silent retreats, and studied at Suluk Academy with Pir Zia and other gifted teachers who taught him the thousand year old Sufi meditation practices.

Dellacona watched his Greenwich Village change after Stonewall and was active in the gay rights movement. At the height of AIDS in the 1980s, he lost more than 150 friends and volunteered to care for dying patients at St. Vincent's Hospital. Over the years he mentored and sponsored countless gay men. Friends say he was born with the "friendship gene" and created intimate and lifelong bonds wherever he went.

After a prolonged battle with cancer, that included an aggressive pursuit of alternative medicine, Dellacona passed away peacefully on Friday, October 8, 2021. He led a life filled with humor, kindness, and generosity, inspiring love and friendship in the many people he brought together. He made his chosen and extended family into his immediate one, regularly hosting friends and loved ones in Pawling and Fire Island, where there was always room for one more guest.

Robert Dellacona is survived by his nephew Marty and Candace Dellacona; their children Scarlett, Max, and Evie, to whom he was affectionately known as Uncle Robert; his nephew David Evans and his family; his cousin Camille Villano; his brother Martin Dellacona III; his sister MaryAnn Evans; his best friends Bill Rose and Gene Gegler; Rose's partner Valden; Gegler's wife Mary and their children Meg and Clark; his dear friend Alan Felsenthal; and many other friends too numerous to name.

A memorial celebrating Robert Dellacona's life will be held on Saturday, November 20th at 11am at The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street, New York, New York. All are welcomed to attend.