Robert John Babich of Crest Hill passed away peacefully on March 17, 2023 at the age of 81. Robert (Bob) was born in Joliet, IL on January 21, 1942 to Helen and Joseph Babich, the youngest of three children. After graduating from Joliet Catholic High School in 1960 he went on to become a master barber and was one of the founding barbers, along with his brother Joseph, in Banana Joe’s Barber Shop.
Banana Joe’s opened on June 26, 1969 and Bob was a permanent fixture there until his retirement on September 14, 2018. Whether it was his VERY early openings of the shop to accommodate 2nd and 3rd shift workers, his daytime catnaps in the chair, or the thousands of “first haircuts” he’s given, Bob will always be remembered as Banana Bob. Even in retirement, he regularly would travel to nursing homes and private homes to cut hair for his regulars that couldn’t travel.
Bob will be remembered for his large garden, his love of sports (JCA football, Bears, Cubs, racing), his massive 4th of July parties, his larger-than-life personality, and his room filling laugh. He adored his four grandchildren (Robert, Max, Jackson, Allison), and insisted on Sunday morning breakfasts with them every week.
Bob is preceded in death by Joseph and Helen (Vershay) Babich (parents) and Jeanette Tucci (sister).
Bob is survived by his longtime companion Marlene Pagliei; son Robert Babich, grandchildren Robert Babich, Max Babich, Jackson Babich, and Allison Babich; brother Joseph (Mary) Babich; brother-in-law Richard Tucci and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Funeral mass will begin at 10:00 am on Saturday, March 25, 2023 at St. Joseph's Church, 416 N Chicago St, Joliet, with interment to follow at the St Joseph Cemetery in Joliet. Based on Bob’s wish for a party to celebrate his life, we will gather to share stories and happy memories from 12-4 PM at Cantigny Post No. 367 VFW, 826 Horseshoe Drive in Joliet following the Interment
Because he was a devout Catholic and active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
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