Our Dear Friend Bob Publicover, 1949-2012

On January 1, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times


Robert J.L. Publicover


Bob (Pub) Publicover passed peacefully at home surrounded by the love of family and friends on December, 31, 2012. Bob, a lifelong resident of Somerville was the former owner/editor of The Somerville News and worked hard to make Somerville “The greatest place to live!” He was a co-founder of the Somerville High Scholarship Fund, was instrumental in remaking Davis Square into what it is today, a member of the Somerville Home Board of Trustees, and was both prominent and respected in local politics. He was a proud member of the Masons (King Solomon’s Lodge) and a much adored Dad Advisor with the Boston Chapter of DeMolay.

Bob may have worn many hats in his lifetime but was proudest of his AIDS work. Having written two books on living with, and educating about AIDS, he was also known as the country’s longest living AIDS survivor (over 30 years positive).  His aptly named column, “Bluntly Speaking,” garnered him many accolades and awards. In 1984 he founded The Committee For A Response To AIDS, a non-profit charity that still helps those both living with, and those affected by, the illness.  It was through his charity work that he was able to form the Somerville Dinner Program and the AIDS Push Cart which brought food and care to those too ill to care for themselves. He never stopped working to educate people about the disease and was often found quietly giving guidance to those who were newly diagnosed or looking for a gentle word and an open ear.

Bob is survived by his husband David Le Bahn; sister Marilyn Publicover; her children Al Jr., Bill and Mike Schleappe and daughter Darlane Crow; brother Ken Publicover; wife Mary, and their sons Kenny and Tony; sister-in-law Margo Grace; husband Charles and their sons CJ, James and Elliott; sister-in-law Ruth Howell; husband Brian and their daughter Abagail; and father-in law David LeBahn Sr.  He is also survived by his very special and dear “2nd family” John and Grace Carabineras and their daughter Nancy Lewis; husband Steve and their children Sharyn and Shawn; and great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by Partner John H. Carabineras and Nephew Steve Schleappe.

Bob was truly an inspiration to all those around him and will be greatly missed by many.

Visitors will be seen on Friday, January 4 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m,. with Masonic service, to be performed by members of King Solomon’s Lodge, at 7 p.m., at Doherty Funeral Home, 855 Broadway, Somerville.

Internment: Saturday, January 5, Puritan Lawn Memorial Park, Peabody.



20 Responses to “Our Dear Friend Bob Publicover, 1949-2012”

  1. Thank you so much Bob. says:

    Thanks so much Bob for all you did. Somerville is lesser without you in it.

  2. Jennifer Lynch says:

    By the way, does the King Solomon’s Lodge admit women?

  3. Somervillian says:

    Bob will be missed.

  4. Billy Tauro says:

    Bob, rest in peace my friend, rest in peace!

  5. Bill Shelton says:

    Bob’s first foray into journalism was a column that he wrote, beginning in his teen years, called “Youth tells it like it is.” His views were conservative.

    He was always prepared to respectfully and cordially engage those with opposing views. So much so that he should serve as an example to those who today call themselves “conservative.”

    He was good company as well. I am saddened to learn that he will no longer be with us.

  6. ELIO LORUSSO says:

    Bob you will never be forgotten for all you have done in and around Somerville. You will be missed.

  7. My most heartfelt sympathies to Bob’s husband, family, friends, and the entire staff at the Somerville News. This is a sad day for Somerville.

  8. Mike Trapan says:

    RIP Bob, your heart was huge!

  9. Bob Spinney says:


    I am glad to have known you over 45 yrs. from the Winslow Ave days.
    DeMolay days and Masons. You supported Somerville when it needed support. Somerville has become a much stronger city, then of our youth, due to your efforts in and out of politics.
    God bless you and be with you.
    Bob Spinney

  10. j. connelly says:

    He has done so many positive things all these years to improve the quality of life in Somerville. A sad loss that will remain in the thoughts of many residents for years to come. Our thoughts & condolences to his family.

  11. Bob, You were an inspiration to me! Your advocacy efforts brought a voice to those who were unable to help themselves. You helped me be a better advocate and taught me to fear no one if it meant giving a voice to others. Thank you for being so strong and fighting for so long. YOU will be missed by so many, Somerville has truly lost a Villan.

  12. Doug Holder says:

    Over a decade ago Bob gave me a slot as a reporter at The Somerville News. I have been there ever since. He knew Somerville like the back of his hand, and helped many. He was very encouraging to me–which I will always be grateful for–Doug Holder

  13. Nancy Lewis says:

    It has been my pleasure knowing Bob Publicover for the past thirty years. He has been an inspiration to so many people. I love and will miss Bob terribly. He leaves an empty seat at our family holiday table. Rest in peace, Bob.

  14. Donald Norton says:

    It was our pleasure knowing Bob over 40 years, he would tell you since High School, he’s always been there for many here, as well as myself.. On behalf of my wife Pat we will miss his unique sense of humor, his sincerity and most of all his words of wisdom as a friend. Right up to the end he and i would have a conversation and a few laughs about the days gone by here in the City. His wish was to make it to Christmas, he proved again his will and strength let him enjoy it with his David and his loving sister Marilyn. God Bless him and keep him!

  15. Pamela says:

    He seemed like a great guy. My mother and father were fiends with Bob. Even though they knew he was struggling with his health, his death will sadden them a great deal.

  16. Ed King says:

    Rest in Peace, my friend and Brother. Your passing is a great loss for SO many!

  17. Steve Keenan says:

    Bob was a true Son of Somerville. He loved the City and all its residents. He was always upbeat, positive, and courageous. He will be missed by all.

  18. Peter says:

    I hadn’t seen or heard from Bob in over a decade, but I’d been thinking of him recently – and his book. Today I was moved to check out this website.
    Yes, Peace, Bob. See you later.

  19. Firestone says:

    Thank you for helping to teach me what the ‘Ville was all about. A real trooper and a force for good.

    You’ll be missed.

  20. Ross Blouin says:

    Bob was a great friend and a “Somerville Original”. I knew him for more than 40 years and he never lost his sense of objectivity. The great thing about Pub was his ability to listen to both sides of a debate and report on it fairly. Bob was blessed with good old fashioned “Yankee common sense”. It didn’t matter if it was left or right…he called them like they were.

    Cooking has always been my retreat to sanity and when I was putting on a dinner Pub would always be there. Back in the 90’s I was taking a break from real estate and working with my good friend, Jimmy Kontos, at McKinnon’s…cooking hot meals. Bob came to us and asked for help with his Aids Committee. I believe we made well over 1,000 hot meals in a three year period…all donated. Later, when I applied to graduate school at Lesley University, Pub wrote a great letter of recommendation for me. I still have it, preserved in my graduate papers. Pub had an incisive wit and we always found a dozen different topics to laugh about…he was a joy in my life and I was proud to call him my friend.

    Take note…all you who dwell in “The Ville”…we will never see the likes of him again.

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