Rob Oliveri rarely thought about himself — he was always too busy looking out for others, specifically the children of Baldwin. “He’s been synonymous with the youth programs and development programs in Baldwin,” said Ed Ramirez, the Baldwin school district’s athletics director. “All the children, they would credit him for their love of the sport of baseball.”
As the president of the Baldwin Little League, Baldwin Summer Program and Long Island Royals, among many other clubs and organizations, he instilled his love of America’s pastime in countless children. “He just loved the sport,” Frank Esposito, Baldwin High School’s head varsity baseball coach and Oliveri’s longtime friend, said.
But his dedication to others spread beyond sports. “He’d be the first guy to help put a roof on your house,” Esposito said. Ramirez said the loss of Oliveri will be felt on many different levels. “When you think of Baldwin,” he said, “Rob Oliversi is one of those guys you think of.”
Oliveri, a Freeport resident, died May 6 of a heart attack while on the job as a sanitation worker. He was 51. He was born in Bethpage in 1967 and played baseball at Baldwin High until he graduated in 1985. He joined the Baldwin Fire Department in 1986 and was a member of the First Aid Company, working as an emergency medical technician.
Despite his busy schedule, Oliveri always made time for Baldwin baseball. Esposito said he played ball for the First Aid Company’s team, and helped coach at the high school for a number of years. He was on the board of directors for several clubs, leading a number of them, for decades. He was also the director of Baldwin Summer Camps for 18 years.
“He was all about the community and all about the youth programs,” Esposito said. “He went above and beyond more than any person in this community, at least that I know of.” For the past few years, Oliveri has been trying to build batting cages at the Baldwin Little League’s headquarters at 999 Church St. The family has asked any donations be made to advance that cause.
The Baldwin Little League said donations can be made on its website, baldwinsports.com, or through its Facebook page. “We are going to do all we can to make this a reality and dedicate that in Rob’s honor,” the league said on its Facebook page.
Ramirez said it would be difficult to replace Oliveri in the various roles he held. “Those are some huge shoes,” he said, “and I don’t know if you could ever get them filled.” Oliveri will be posthumously awarded the Bill St. Georges Humanitarian Award for his service to Baldwin on June 13 at Baldwin High School.
He is survived by two brothers, Richard and Ronald, and two sisters, Lucille Colucci and Jean Oliveri. He also leaves behind four beloved dogs, Esposito said. “He absolutely loved dogs,” Esposito said. “They all got great homes now, though.”