Robert “Bob” Lee Colona died peacefully on the morning of May 4, 2024 in Seaford after decades of tenaciously fighting chronic health conditions so that he could enjoy the life he built with the ones he loved.

Bob was born on Dec. 10, 1929, in Chincoteague, Va. He was the sixth and last child born to Norman and Roena Daisey Colona and was orphaned at the young age of nine years old when his father and mother died months apart. After their untimely deaths, Bob was raised by his elder sister Lillie “Mom Lil” and her husband Charles Boothe. Life was difficult on the island, so Bob took on odd jobs to help support the family in any way he could. Bob attended Chincoteague High School and left to join the United States Air Force. He was deployed to Germany as part of the Berlin Airlift, and then to Japan and Korea for the Korean War from 1950 to 1952.  

After returning, Bob relocated to Seaford to take a job with the Dupont Company. In Seaford, Bob met the love of his life, Shirley Whaley. They married on Feb. 4, 1956.  

Bob completed his high school education after discharge and later completed numerous officer training programs through the Air Force, often ranking near the top of his class. Bob had a passion for and was self-taught in the fields of carpentry, masonry, woodwork, and antique furniture refinishing.

Bob began working at the Dover Air Force Base in 1955. Bob persevered up the ladder and eventually became the lead Transportation and Traffic Manager for Dover’s Aerial Port Squadron (436thAW), responsible for managing the interface of the Commercial Transportation Industry and the Department of Defense. He retired after 33 years of service. Bob pursued many endeavors after his retirement, including serving as Vice President and GM of a moving company, serving his community in the Key Club and as president of the Seaford Kiwanis Club, and completing his lifelong ambition of discovering where he came from with his genealogy work.  

Bob is survived by his son, Robert Colona (father of the late Garett Colona) and Robert’s partner Gail Larmore; his daughter Michelle Colona and son-in-law Jorge Alvarez, and their two sons, Robert Alvarez, a PhD candidate, and Dr. Christian Alvarez. He is also survived by his nephew Norman Boothe (Nita) and niece Maryanne Boothe. Shirley died on May 21, 17 days after Bob’s passing.

A combined funeral service for Robert and Shirley Colona was held Tuesday, May 28 at the St. John’s United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation at or by mail to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306.