Robert Gaffney

Robert "Bob" Gaffney

Wednesday, May 5th, 1943 - Saturday, March 21st, 2020
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Robert “Bob” Gaffney, 76, passed away on March 21st, 2020, at home in Mt. Lebanon with his family. He is survived by his wife Liana (Vaira), with whom he enjoyed more than 51 years of marriage, children Rachel (Andy) and Adam (Leigh-Anne), and Adam’s children Grayson, Dylan, and Ansleigh Gaffney. Born in Cumberland, Maryland, to James T. and Virginia L. (Wolford) Gaffney, he is also survived by his sister, Carol Ann Gaffney, who still lives in Cumberland.
Those who knew him will remember his sense of humor and appreciation for life and loved ones. Bob joked about inventing fantastical stories of his accomplishments for his obituary (“astronaut who pioneered space travel”), but as his family and friends know, no exaggeration is necessary to describe him because he was truly an exceptional individual. He was a talented and humble athlete, reticent to be recognized for his achievements: he excelled at playing football (named to the All-Maryland team in his senior year of high school and then winning a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh), and he played golf like a pro (twice hitting holes-in-one, while managing to make those stylish golf outfits look both sporting and debonair). In his culinary wisdom, cheeseburgers were renamed “nature’s most perfect food,” and who could argue with that? Banking was his profession (achieving leadership honors in each organization), but his true talent at work and in life was nurturing people to be and do their best. He will be missed by all of those whose lives he touched. Please visit the online Book of Memories to share stories and messages, and donations in his memory can be made to your favorite charitable organization.
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Wally Harshberger

Posted at 05:34pm
I am deeply saddened to learn of Bob's death. Before I met him, I remember playing basketball for the LaVale Methodist Church and playing against this outstanding St. Lukes Church team for whom this young boy named Bob Gaffney played. Our entire team was amazed at his outstanding basketball skills. He seemed to be able to defeat our team almost single-handedly. I learned to know Bob when we entered the 7th grade together at AHS. We shared some classes together and participated in JV football and track & field. He played basketball, but I did not. He was a great athlete in every sport in played. He was also very thoughtful and kind to all of his teammates and classmates. I recall in the 7th grade in Science class that each student was required to give an oral report on Weather. After I gave my report, Bob went to the front of the class to give his report. But before he gave his report, he complimented me on mine. I was astonished and felt slightly embarrassed, but deeply honored. Until that time I had never heard a student compliment another student in that manner. After a few moments of silence, the science teacher looked directly at me and said something like, "And Mr. Harshberger, can you say 'Thank you' to Mr. Gaffney." After stumbling with my words for a few moments, I muttered "Thank you, Bob." I knew then that there was something special about him.

As we spent the remaining high school years together in class and playing sports, I learned to like, admire and respect him more with each passing year. Academically, he was an excellent student. Athletically, he was outstanding. Bob was an extraordinarily talented halfback, fast and capable of running through and around defensive players. He was our fastest sprinter in track in the 100 and 200-yard dashes. He was a champion high jumper and excelled at the shot put and discus. He was a star in every sport he played - football, basketball and track & field. But mostly, he was a star in life. Humble, kind, caring and thoughtful. After high school, we went our separate ways. I saw him only once at our 50th reunion in 2011 for a brief moment. Even though we were together for only six years at AHS, I feel honored to have known him during that time. I will miss him.

~ Wally Harshberger

Paul Dawley

Posted at 05:27pm
My condolences to Liana and the Gaffney family. Bob hired me to join the Private Wealth group with Fifth Third Bank in Pittsburgh and we worked together for over 7 years. Bob was a great teacher, always willing to share his knowledge and experience with others. Bob genuinely cared about those who worked for and with him and I am forever grateful for knowing him. Bob always talked about Liana, Rachel, Adam and the whole family and you could see how much he loved all of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Sincerely, Paul Dawley

Ansel Shircliffe

Posted at 10:19am
Dear Liana and family - Please accept my deep sorrow by the passing of Bob. Bob was my good friend through our Allegany High School days and St. Lukes Lutheran Church. Bob was a great athlete here in Cumberland especially when he was instrumental in leading St. Lukes to two church league championships. I will always remember Bob in my heart. May God Bless you and your family through this time. Sincerely - Ansel G. Shircliffe

Cathy Blank

Posted at 07:53pm
My connection to Bob is through my close friendship with his sister Carol. Carol admired her brother and was always extremely proud of his accomplishments. She was so close to him and his beautiful wife and family, and she would always fill me in on the happenings in his life. I grieve for all of them, but especially for Carol. It’s heartbreaking to know how much she will miss him. Sending my love to her, and Bob’s family..Fondly, Cathy Blank

Don Helker

Posted at 12:33pm
While the notification of friends death is somewhat expected as we move along in the aging process, Bob's passing came as a complete shock to me this morning. We were best of friends throughout our years at Allegany. I have many wonderful memories of Mr. & Mrs. Gaffney who treated me as a second son in their close knit family. I was honored to have Bob as my best man my wedding and happy for him as he met and married Liana. Our friendship continued over the years as we both moved forward in separate career paths, but, we always made time to check in with each other to catch up on our families as much as time would allow.
Sondra joins me in sending our deepest sympathy to his entire family. We pray that in the days ahead that the deep grief that you now feel will lessen leaving behind only the happy memories you shared. The world has lost someone very special.

Don and Sondra Helker

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