Robert J. Michelena, 64, Clayton

CLAYTON, NY —  After a long struggle with cancer, Robert J Michelena has passed at the age of 64.

He was born Sept. 26, 1956, in Havana, Cuba. He and his family were forced out of Cuba under the rule of Fidel Castro’s regime who had seized all of his family’s wealth. He moved to Clayton eight years ago.

Known to his family as “Rober,” he was a Catholic man, the beloved son of Gloria and Pedro Michelena. Attended Memorial High school with his twin sister Maria, played sports and excelled during his time on the debate team. He was an avid chess player who studied the game with the utmost enthusiasm and played for the high school team winning more than 30 trophies. And it is apropos that he lived to see 64 years of age, one year for every square on the chessboard.

Rober was a history buff particularly focusing his attention on the World Wars. He was also a hunter and loved the outdoors preferably hiking and spending quality time with his nephews. He enjoyed building models of tanks and planes. Also, he loved to cycle long distances on his Gios.

He was a Lifelong member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and was awarded a Juris Doctor degree from Pace University in the early to mid 1990s.

Rober worked in the New York City area for most of his life at the exclusive Brooks Brothers and Paul Stuart’s clothing store, all the while pursuing his law degree. He loved cooking as well and could not make up his mind as to which professional chef he would want to watch on the television; Emerald Lagasse, Gordon Ramsey, or Bobby Flay.

Rober modeled himself after the best and would even take interest in what others were doing. He was a very well-rounded individual. He had quite the fruitful life and it doesn’t go without saying that everyone around him was enriched in some way by his presence. Being of Spanish heritage he would enjoy an occasional siesta in order to be recouped for his next obstacle. He had a curiosity about how the science of fasting worked and loved to fast himself.  He enjoyed having a beer under the tree with his brother-in-law Walter Timmerman.  They would shoot the breeze hours at a time.

As selfless as he was, his last wishes were to donate his body to science.   As with most people, Roberts interests were beyond the scope of what can be fit into writing.

He is survived by his twin sister, Maria Timmerman; a brother-in-law, Walter Timmerman; and three nephews (Robert Kassir, Gabriel Zudeck, and Dan McCord).

He passed away 7 p.m. March 25 at the Hospice of Jefferson County.

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