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January 21, 2003

St Vinnies stalwart was a joker with a heart of gold

From: St. George Sutherland Leader, Australia - 21 Jan 2003

LIFE for Robert Profilio was too short to take seriously.

A St Vincent de Paul Hurstville worker for 26 years and supervisor for the last 10 years, he used the water pistols and rubber masks in the toy section for frolics that had his colleagues in stitches of laughter.

Fifty-four-year-old Bob, as he was known, from Revesby, was hearing impaired.

The family man described as the "soul and the heartbeat of St Vincent de Paul" in Hurstville was found dead last Saturday night at Lake Tabourie Beach, south of Ulladulla. He went missing on Wednesday, January 8 while snorkelling on a family holiday.

Nancy Soan was one of many customers touched by Bob's "heart of gold".

She said he was the kind of person who would drop everything to help someone out, even if he already had a full plate.

"He epitomised the heart of the St Vincent de Paul Society, showing care, compassion and courtesy. The heart has missed a beat. Do they come any better?" Mrs Soan said.

There was never a dull moment for Bob, who was a man of many sporting, social and community commitments.

He was an unswerving supporter of the West Tigers rugby league team, a swimmer with a 1974 Australian Deaf Games gold medal, the president of NSW Deaf Sports and Recreation, the chairman of the Catholic Deaf Association, a life member of the Deaf Tennis association, and on top of all that, he played darts, football, soccer, squash and cricket.

"Despite all of his commitments, his family always came first," said his youngest child Andrew, 16.

"If I grow up to be half as good as him, I know I will have done him proud.

"He was the kind of person who would always help. Even if he had been out all day, he would be there in a flash."

Audrey Paul was Bob's store manager and one of his best friends.

"It didn't matter if you were rich or poor, he treated everyone exactly the same," she said.

"A lot of people would hurt Bob, but he never retaliated and that's an extreme quality."

Bob is survived by his wife of 31 years, Mary, and five children, Rosemary, 29, Paul, 26, Michelle, 23, Caroline, 22 and Andrew.