He Does It “His Way”
by Cate Murway
“I planned each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway,
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.”
Robert [a favorite boy’s name since the Middle Ages meaning famed; bright; shining] Nicholas Liberatore, Sr., BHS ‘57/Villanova ’61/U of PA Wharton School is imaginative in his presentation, an optimistic gentleman that seems ever enthusiastic about life and living. His ability to communicate has always inspired and motivated others and his personality wants to lead, not follow. He can be recognized as a man with a plan, and the discipline to make that successful plan work; one of which is to assist Borough students, reinforcing self-esteem and augmenting their ability.
Bob, a two-time 1st Team PA All-State basketball player and the first inductee into the BHS Sports Hall of Fame, shares his birthday with Helen Keller (1880), who altered our perception of human inconveniences and remapped the boundaries of sight and sense; Horatio Alger Award recipient H. Ross Perot (1930), who proposed reforms that resulted in major legislative changes in Texas public schools and Bob 'Captain Kangaroo' Keeshan (1927), who proved that children learned most easily when information and knowledge became a source of delight.
“Regrets, I’ve had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption”
The 200 member Bristol Senior Athletic Association’s mission is to mobilize alumni athletes to reinvest in their community and their alma mater. Along with BSAA funds, they have secured grants from the Grundy Foundation, Arkema, Bristol Lions Club and 1st Federal of Bucks County for an innovative, vibrant and positive program that targets budding young scholars who have the potential for academic excellence.
Per January ‘06 Pilot article by Stephen Row, “ the [then] BSAA president Liberatore, finest ball player to ever come out of BHS, stressed that the Hi-Potential Program considers their budding scholars a worthwhile investment and will work with them, monitoring their progress and providing remedial help if necessary.” This program differs from the scholarships for young athletes; “Hi-Po” looks to foster intellectual confidence in students who demonstrate academic potential, are involved in extra-curricular activities, such as the school newspaper, student council or the debating team, but are not necessarily athletes. A committee of members of the BHS staff makes its selections, including the key person, Principal Thomas F. Shaffer and administration, the guidance counselor, teachers and coaches. BSAA has committed to almost $35,000 in scholarship money in less than 3 years, dedicated to preserving the legacy of Bristol's proud academic and athletic history through fellowship and providing incentives for young athletes and scholars.
“I’ve lived a life thats full.
I’ve traveled each and every highway;
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way”
Along with football/basketball/baseball/track athlete Bob, “the Pride & Joy of Lincoln Avenue” per School Board President David J. Chichilitti, BHS ’75, his siblings, retired teacher Richard Angelo “Rich”, BHS ’62/East Stroudsburg/ Temple Univsersity, and Municipal Building Administrator, Maria Joanne Fields, BHS ’69 and their parents, Kaiser / Fleetwings carpenter, Angelo and Mary [Caione], a member of the 1st graduating class of St. Ann School, were all educated in the Borough Public Schools. The late Principal, John Girotti, for whom the Warren P. Snyder- John Girotti Elementary School is named, was his classmate. Bob was the Confirmation sponsor for his nephew, Angelo P. Fields, HGP‘00/PSU ’05, who works as one of the key ingredients in the “brewing” success of Anheuser Busch, and he is the Godfather of Dominic N. Fields, HGP ‘01/ LaSalle ’06 who will start a career at Simon & Schuster, Inc. as an inventory coordinator, testing his use of initiative and independent judgment.
Bob’s wife of 43 years, former Fillmore Street resident, cheerleader Mary Jo [Flatch], BHS ’59 is the daughter of the late Angeline & Frank F. Flatch, the notable AFL-CIO rep, for whom the original 1908 Bristol H.S. building, currently the Lower Bucks Senior Activity Center on Wood and Mulberry Streets, was dedicated June 15, 1995. They are members of “The Caterina de'Medici Gastronomic Society that has for its goals the disbursement of knowledge of the glories of classical and regional Italian cooking, its great and varied wines and its cultural heritage”. They are proud of their 2 children, football/basketball athlete, telemarketer Robert [Rob] N., Jr., college preparatory Archbishop Wood ’85 and Buckingham resident, track/swimming athlete Cristine “Cristi” Quillen, AW ‘88/PSU ‘93, employed in the medical services industry, who has presented them with 2 grandchildren.
His career that spanned 44 years in the technology industry of Information Processing, starting with RCA, purchased by Sperry-Univac that merged with Burroughs to finally form Unysis Corporation, demanded extensive travel to Japan, China, France, Italy and England. Bob sold out his equity position in a company in N.J. and worked in Communication and Information in one of the largest engineering firms, Siemens in Munich, Germany and worldwide Honeywell- Bull in Paris, a global joint venture with Compagnie des Machines Bull of France. He returned to Unysis, winner in the DCI & DM Review 5th Annual Portal Excellence Award for the Best Knowledge Management System, and committed to a Los Angeles, CA commute for almost 2 years, retiring officially from the corporate structure in 1998. Adept in planning ability and solid judgment, he founded the “Liberator Group”, an international management and hi-tech products marketing consulting corporation in September of that year, and presides as the President and Managing Principal.
“Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.”
Bob and the two other founders of the 3 year old BSAA, founded in April ‘04, Jim Sottile and Chairman Frank Barbetta, who helped fund the organization, decided to “do something, not just meet at weddings and funerals”; to give back, “they had a good start here” [he values the influential mentoring he received from his guiding influence, Coach Anthony “Chic” D’Angelo, BHS ‘42] and to do some good for the Borough with “no hidden agendas”. Bob feels passionate about “perpetuating what is good about the Borough”. His “life has been blessed financially, professionally and personally because someone was able to point him in the right direction”.
Their first structured meeting was held in the St. Ann Athletic Association building, June ‘04. Athletic scholarships total $3000 a year, $1500 each for a male and a female athlete. Successful Hi-Po candidates, of the 2 seniors, 3 juniors, and 4 sophmores and freshmen, besides participating in a potentially life-altering experience, will receive an annuity toward their post-secondary education, earned in increments. 50% is given when the student is accepted in any secondary education school and the additional 50% at enrollment in the 2nd semester, for a total of $1,700. A recommended reading is The World Is Flat, a brilliant book authored by the award-winning New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, demystifying and making sense of the often-bewildering global scene unfolding before their eyes. Another suggestion is The Organization Man, one of the most influential books of the twentieth century by an editor of Fortune magazine, William Hollingsworth Whyte. This is an incentive measured program to plan and prepare our youth for the future, a legacy of achievement.
The BSAA, current President is Armand “Butch” Bianchini, BHS ’60, has also granted money to other initiatives such as the Bristol Little League, the H. Ross Tubman Monument Committee, Les Strokes Golf Club, the National Young Leaders Conference and the Kiwanis Holiday Fund.
“To think I did all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
No, oh no not me,
I did it my way.”
The fourth annual BSAA Softball Exhibition, which was to take place Sunday in the Mike Manto Little League Field, was cancelled due to remnants of Tropical Rainstorm Barry, so Bob didn’t get to play his first base- All Star position. Check the free Bristol Borough Calendar for a reschedule date! The committee is working on starting a new April or May community annual event, The BSAA Ball, a banquet at which accomplished individuals can be honored and recognized. They are currently looking to solidify a theme for this all inclusive community event. Please contact Bob with any suggestions. BBOCADMIN@gmail.com
“For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -
And did it my way!”
[“My Way” lyrics by Frank Sinatra]
To recommend a Bristol Borough Character to be spotlighted:
American Heritage Dictionary
1.Moral or ethical strength. 2.A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities.