GALLO, ROBERT

1934-2024

Robert (Bob) Julio Gallo passed away peacefully in his home in Modesto, California, on June 22, 2024, on the ranch where he lived his entire life. Born in Modesto on August 18, 1934, Bob was the beloved son of Aileen Marie Lowe, a third-generation Californian, and Julio Robert Gallo, co-founder of E. & J. Gallo Winery and a son of Italian immigrants. Bob would witness and participate in the evolution of the company his father and uncle founded from a small family winery to the largest family-owned winery in the world.

Bob graduated from Modesto High School in 1952. He then attended Oregon State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Technology. He was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. After graduating in 1956, he served honorably in the United States Navy. He was stationed in San Diego on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, which was deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and later stationed at the Whidbey Island Naval Base.

After completing his naval service, Bob returned to Modesto to marry his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Marie Therese Damrell, on July 5, 1958. Married for 62 years they lived a life devoted to faith and family and shared a united commitment to their community of Modesto. His beloved wife Marie died on May 3, 2021. They raised eight children in the house Bob built himself.

He began his professional career at his family’s business, E. & J. Gallo Winery, and would work there for all his life, regularly going into the office well into his eighties. Bob’s titles included co-president and co-chairman during his tenure with the company. In the tradition of his father Julio, Bob led winemaking, wine production, vineyards, and grower relations at E. & J. Gallo Winery, adopting best practices and innovations that would inspire future winemakers and leaders.

He was one of the visionaries and leaders to build and open Gallo Glass Company in 1958. Gallo Glass Company would become one of the largest and most sustainable glass factories in the country and is recognized as a leader in innovative recycling.

With his strong interest in the environment, Bob was at the forefront of Gallo’s commitment to sustainability. Most notably, one innovation that became a model of sustainability was the 50/50 Give Back Program. Through this program one acre of land was set aside for every one acre of vineyard planted, helping to protect and enhance wildlife habitats.

Bob oversaw the development of the E. & J. Gallo Winery’s North and Central Coast vineyards which became a model of sustainability in the premium wine world.

He served as Chairman of the Wine Institute in 1977 and in this role, he worked with the California Association of Winegrape Growers to draft and implement the Code of Sustainable Wine Growing Practices.

Some of the highlights of his career include the acquisition of MacMurray Ranch, Louis M. Martini Winery (with its Monte Rosso Vineyard), and the Barefoot Wine brand. He later helped create G-3 Enterprises, which includes multiple businesses in logistics, packaging, Byron Sand Mine, transportation, real estate, and warehousing.

Bob had a strong commitment to both family and work and maintained a healthy balance and dedication to both throughout life. Bob believed that to achieve your personal best it was important to put family first and have a place for God in your life. His children remember that the family would attend church together on Sundays, followed by a visit to work, and conclude the day with a big family dinner at home. Family dinners are amongst the most cherished memories of Bob and his family. It was a special time when they could share stories about what was happening in their daily lives over food that often came from their garden.

The family lived across the vineyard from St. Stanislaus Elementary School and Central Catholic High School, both of which were attended by Bob’s children. The Gallo family home became a lively spot for gathering after school events and before athletic games. Bob was a constant figure throughout the years for Central Catholic, St. Stanislaus School and Catholic Church, and the Sisters of the Cross Convent, helping to bring together a vibrant and growing Catholic community. The most recent addition being the Mark Gallo Health & Fitness Center.

He was a founding member of the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club, which was a premier athletic club that brought top U.S. athletes of their time to speak to the Modesto community. The SOS club was a popular place, and every summer Bob and his children packed into the family’s station wagon to go participate in swimming meets.

The family loved traveling together on annual family vacations, such as spending Christmas in Maui and summers in Aptos. They would create treasured memories and build strong family bonds on these trips over the years. Bob and his wife Marie also hosted many family gatherings and holidays at their home, such as Easter and Thanksgiving celebrations with the entire family. Because of these many annual family traditions, their large family remains close to this day.

Bob taught his family to respect the outdoors, fostering a strong interest in wildlife through hunting and fishing adventures from Corral Hollow Ranch to Alaska. He enjoyed taking Marie to rustic western guest ranches where they shared their love for horseback riding and visiting with other families.

Bob’s passion for wildlife and ranching led to his lifelong commitment of work at his cherished Faith Ranch. Through his conservation efforts to rebuild wildlife habitats with many wetlands and riparian corridors, there are now many diverse species that live and migrate through the Faith Ranch. Most notably, the Aleutian Cackling Goose has since recovered from a population of fewer than 600 to over 200,000 and has been removed from the Federal Endangered Species list. Bob’s efforts also provided protection and refuge for other species, including the Sandhill Crane, American White Pelican, Snow Goose, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Blue Heron and numerous species of ducks and shore birds. His work on the ranch didn’t stop there; he took great interest in his cattle business, continually improving the quality of the cattle and pastureland.

Bob was committed to improving, enhancing, and striving to make Modesto a better place to live, work, and play. He served on many local non-profit boards and continued to support the organizations through financial support from The Bob and Marie Gallo Foundation. Some of the local causes the Foundation supports are: Gospel Mission, The Salvation Army, Gallo Center for the Arts, St. Stanislaus Catholic Church and the Sisters of the Cross.

Bob also served on the Boards of the Wine Institute, the University of California, San Francisco Medical Foundation, American Farmland Trust, American Vineyard Foundation, and was a founding trustee of the University of California, Merced.

Bob and his family also founded The Mark Steven Gallo Memorial Fund in memory of his late son.

As a testament to their humility and generosity, Bob and Marie were recognized and received the Diocese of Stockton’s Bishop’s Award for Service, the Wine Star Lifetime Achievement Award from Wine Enthusiast magazine, and the Robert J. Cardoza Citizen of the Year Award from the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

Although Bob was a quiet, humble man, through his service he made the world a better place. His interests and hobbies were varied but they all reflected his commitment to faith, family, and community.

Bob is survived by children Julie Gallo Vander Wall, John (Teresa), Matthew (Kathleen), Thomas (Karyn), Gina Gallo-Boisset (Jean-Charles), Amy Gallo, and Mary E. Gallo-Lucisano (Costantino); Grandchildren Emily Vander Wall, Mark Vander Wall, Robert Gallo, Margaret Gallo, Sarah Gallo, Mia Gallo, Celine Gallo, Isabella Gallo, Augustine Gallo, Maximus Gallo, Matisse Gallo, Gianna Merkel (Zack), Julian Gallo (Taylor), William Gallo, Tessa Gallo, Honoree-Josephine Boisset, Grace-Antoinette Boisset, Anna Ballatore, Colleen Ballatore, Leonardo Lucisano, Sabrina Lucisano, and great-grandchildren Jude Gallo and Kennedy Gallo.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Marie, son Mark Stephen Gallo, granddaughter Monica Gallo, son-in-law David Vander Wall, sister Susann Gallo Coleman, and brother Philip Gallo.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024: Viewing 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. & Rosary: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Funeral Mass: Thursday, July 11, 10:30 a.m.

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, 1200 Maze Blvd., Modesto, CA 95351

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mark Steven Gallo Memorial Fund for Central Catholic High School (200 South Carpenter Road, Modesto, CA 95351) and Gallo Center for the Arts (1000 I St. Modesto, CA 95354).