Kevin Bianchi was an unforgettable guy. He was blessed at birth with athletic talent, a loving heart, and a memorable personality. He could light up a room or be "the life of the party" as well as anyone you've ever seen. If Kevin was your friend, you knew you could count on him to have your back. A physical force to be reckoned with despite his 5'-6" frame, pound for pound, he was one of the toughest men you'd ever meet.
At Navy, Kevin was one of the special people that stood out in a crowd of talented individuals. He could also be entertaining and funny, even a little bit of a knucklehead at times, but that was just part of his charm. His popularity and athletic talent at Navy were well documented. What was more notable was that he had these gifts, and the respect of his peers, but he never let any of that go to his head. He was sincerely humble, an important character trait that is especially hard to master when you're brimming with talent.
Perhaps the fact that he captained the wrestling team sums it up perfectly. Three other men on that team rose to the rank of Admiral several others have gone on to achieve exceptional success in business. Kevin was a leader among that prestigious group.
Later, he and Barrie we're married and Kevin was blessed to enjoy a loving wife and three beautiful children. As a Naval Officer, Commander Bianchi became known as an officer widely respected by his subordinates and colleagues alike. He was an accomplished helicopter pilot, having received numerous awards over his nearly 20 year career. In many ways, Kevin had it all.
It was certainly devastating blow to all who knew and loved him, especially his family, when Kevin left us. Even so, it's hard not to smile when you think of Kevin today. Remembering something he did or said, that wide grin or the belly laugh with his head rocked all the way back! Kevin will always be remembered fondly.
Today, we pay tribute to the entire Bianchi Family. Their beloved Kevin is gone, but his memory can live on, in part, through our efforts here today and into the future. The Bianchi Memorial Fund dreams that someday, Kevin's legacy will be enhanced with a long list of families that were touched and supported through the foundation that bears he and his brother Bobby’s name.
- FRANK PROCTOR, NAVY VETERAN AND CLOSE FRIEND OF KEVIN BIANCHI
A Fearless Friend
An inspiring story from Bobby Bianchi's life-long friend, Chris Sloan. Read below as Chris recounts his journey alongside Bobby from their childhood to manhood, and how Bobby persevered and triumphed through his determination and refusal to be defeated. And, how that journey helped to shape the man and human being Chris has become.
I grew up two blocks away from the Bianchi house in Maplewood and I probably spent more time there than at my own house. Reason being that I have four sisters and the Bianchi’s had four brothers who were all athletes so if I wanted to get into a touch or tackle football game, a pickup hoop game or have a lax catch, I headed over to the Bianchi house.
Bobby and I were the same age and even though he was one of my best friends, he was also my rival on the field. Regardless of the sport we were playing, if I wanted to win or be the best, I needed to beat Bobby.
Unfortunately for me, that didn’t happen often. Every fourth of July, races were held in town at Memorial Park and every fourth of July, Bobby would beat me. I’m not even sure that he was faster than I was, but he had such a desire to win that it was simply nearly impossible to beat him.
When it came to sports no one was more fearless than “Be-anks”. In seventh grade, we both played football for the Union Rockets in a league that had kids weighing up to 128 pounds. Bobby only weighed 105 pounds, however since he wasn’t afraid to hit anyone, the coaches put him at middle linebacker. Regardless of the size of the kid carrying the ball, Bobby never backed down. I remember one game when he got “trucked” by a bigger and stronger kid. Bobby got up a little wobbly but the next time that kid came his way, he hit him hard, made the tackle and got with a huge smile on his face. From an early age, you could see he was the kind of person that refused to back down or shy away. Like I said, the guy was fearless.
Even with all the success on the field and in the classroom, he was still one of humblest guys I’ve ever known. That’s not to say he wasn’t confident, he was very confident – probably more than anyone else I’ve ever known. No matter what sport he was playing, when it was coming down to the last play, he wanted the ball. And we usually gave it to him knowing that the result was likely going to be good.
A person of tremendous character, Bobby was almost always the voice of reason in our group of friends. Sure, he would make the occasional bad decision. But more often than not, if somebody suggested we get involved in something that could get us in trouble, he would be the one that would talk us out of it.
If you ask Jack Francis about Bobby, he’d tell you Bobby’s influence is a big reason he lives his life the ways he does. I couldn’t agree more. Although he was only with us for 26 years, my memories of Bobby and the friendship we shared has had a huge and lasting effect on me. I firmly believe that the person I’ve become has a great deal with the kind of person Bobby was.
- CHRIS SLOAN, LIFE-LONG FRIEND OF BOBBY BIANCHI
A Truly Unique Individual
We all know Kevin was unique. His voice, his laugh, his talent, his friendship, (his body!), his often unconventional way of looking at things. While all this rings true in my time with Kev, he had a far more profound impact on me that I wouldn’t realize for years. For one, I don’t recall ever hearing Kevin say a truly mean-spirited thing about another person. I mean, he could bust your chops, but I never saw it with malice. I doubt he was capable of genuine animosity. Someone recently told me inspired people are never sarcastic. It made me think of Kevin and, like meanness, I don’t remember him ever being sarcastic. That fits. He was a great man, a great friend, a great father, husband and officer. The fact that he was from New Jersey mars an otherwise perfect record. But, hey, no one is perfect.
Love to all Block’s Jersey/Navy/VA et al family and friends,
- SERGIO VALOESCHER, LIFE-LONG FRIEND OF KEVIN BIANCHI