Robert Raymond Viosca “Bob” born October 26, 1925 in Lakeview New Orleans, died February 26, 2022 at his home in Mandeville, Louisiana. On the way to bed, he suddenly collapses in the arms of his son Randy.
He was the third child of Félix Viosca and Alice Baudean, and was the last of his family. He was predeceased by his three siblings, parents and wife: Randall Clement Viosca (1944 England WW II), Felicie “Fay” Rita Viosca Martin (2010 Mandeville LA) and Jerome Felix “Jerry” Viosca (2001 Simi Valley CA ), mother Alice Baudean (1987 Mandeville), father Felix Viosca (1947 New Orleans) and Bob’s wife, Phyllis Freshwater (2001 Hamel MN). He is survived by sons: Randy Viosca (Cari Giroir) and Louis Viosca (Juliette Maxson Viosca), a granddaughter Kayla Sandelin (Dayne) and three great-grandchildren, adoptive family friends Julie Hoff, Ron Latin and Cyndee Jackson, nephews Danny Martin (Fay), and Justin Viosca (Jerry), nieces Tammie, Bonnie, Kim, and cousin and best friend Vic Viosca whose family adopted Bob when he retired to Mandeville .
Bob was 14 when he graduated from Warren Easton High School in New Orleans. His mother Alice taught him how to cook her New Orleans French family recipes so he could cook the family meals while they worked and he was at night school. During World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Core. During his basic training, he washed and warmed planes in Denver. Just before heading to flight training, he came across a doorway outside a doctor who diagnosed him with rheumatic fever. He was quarantined for six months in a hospital bed where he used the time to memorize Omar Khayyám’s “The Rubáiyát”, the lines of which he would recite at any appropriate time (or not, depending on the wine). ), much to the chagrin of his wife. He called it his “Red Boat” philosophy.
After the war, he attended Tulane University on the GI bill and graduated as a mechanical engineer in 1950. He was accepted into Harvard Business School where he earned his MBA. While in college, he interned at Westinghouse where, with a nearly unlimited spending budget, he smoothed the ruffled feathers of global energy industry executives who were upset that their shipments of generators, transformers, turbines and other equipment were reconsigned during the defense. Production Act of 1950 for Atomic Projects.
After college, he and some buddies sublet a factory loft to a Greenwich Village artist where he created his first oil painting “The Hangover – 1955”. It was the age of the beatnik – and he loved the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. One can imagine him and his buddies standing with martinis criticizing his masterpiece.
He took a job in marketing and manufacturing at Etna Bearing and Nuttel Gear in Pittsburgh where he designed the Moduline series of adaptable gear sets (still sold today).
Bob met the love of his life, Phyllis Freshwater, an aspiring opera singer and music student, in the laundry room of their Pittsburgh building. She invited him over for lasagna, but she didn’t know how to precook the pasta, “and it came out like a concrete cinder block.” He took her to his favorite Lebanese restaurant “Samrini’s” where she ate lamb for the first time. He proposed to her, and she refused. He proposed several times, and finally he gave her a business presentation complete with charts, graphs, and bullet points, detailing how he would support her career, education, and family. She has accepted. They married in 1957 in Pittsburgh.
With his New Orleans background, he loved to cook and taught Phyllis. Together they raised two boys and moved to cities such as Mansfield OH, Chicago, Munich Germany and the Twin Cities (Edina). In the 1960s, Bob got his pilot’s license and bought a Cessna. On business, Bob traveled extensively and brought along a portable watercolor set he made. In the 1970s, when their sons were finishing high school, they started Avion Travel, a family business run by Phyllis and Louis. Bob and Phyllis have traveled all over the world. In 1978 he started Video Entertainment Inc. in Minneapolis, which he and Randy expanded to seven stores. In the 1980’s Bob and Phyllis purchased a small farm in Hamel MN and bred and trained horses for dressage and fox hunting. Bob was part of the Long Lake Hounds fox hunting club.
After Phillis died in 2001, Bob built a house in 2003 in Mandeville LA. He liked to say, “I’m going back to my ancestral breeding grounds. He made seasonal “painting trips” to Europe and elsewhere. He continued to study art and took classes with well-known contemporaries. He joined the Lacombe Art League. Never one to “rest on my laurel leaves”, in his 80s he consulted the book “Save The Cat” from Mandeville’s library, and with Randy they wrote three satirical comedy scripts, the first which was presented at Paramount Studios. His lifetime painting oeuvre includes over 500 oil and watercolor paintings, and mixed media – many of which are sold, given as gifts or given away.
Many of his paintings, writings and screenplays can be seen on his website: artbyviosca.com.
During the last year of his life, he often said to caregivers and friends, “You know, I really lived an enchanted life, I couldn’t have asked for more.”
He was a unique man, some say of the renaissance. He was slow to anger, irreverent, thoughtful and empathetic – always striving to understand the opinions of others, even those with which he disagreed.
His wishes were to be cremated and to have his ashes scattered in Lake Pontchartrain at his favorite fishing spots. He didn’t want a formal burial, but asked to boil some crawfish at his house in his honor, and we’ll all do it when the mudbugs come in season this spring. As you can imagine, his exact wording was rather irreverent, something you might find in any of his screenplays, writings, or paintings. And that was his way.
He touched many family members and friends in his life from all over the world. His passing leaves a void in our hearts that cannot be filled.
His art website: www.artbyviosca.com
The Viosca Family genealogy and historical photos site: www.viosca.com
His memorial on FindAGrave: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/237185341/robert-raymond-viosca
His entry on FamilySearch.org: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/G3PR-3SH
To send flowers to the family or to plant a tree in memory of Robert Raymond Viosca, visit our floral boutique.
Posted by Bagnell & Son Funeral Home on March 8, 2022.