Centerville donor Robert “Bob” Cannarozzi knows life sometimes demands a little heavy lifting. He was the youngest in an Italian immigrant family of 10 and he earned his football scholarship at the University of Dayton playing offensive tackle. Then he became a tough-love principal for most of his 36 years with Dayton Public Schools.
“I remember when some parents came in to talk to me about their student,” he said. “They had a dog with them that was as big as a cow.”
Bob is a “Universal Donor,” because his O negative blood type can go to any patient in need. He reached his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation Wednesday, March 1 at Community Blood Center by making a double red blood cell donation.
“It feels good!” said Bob. “I came in at 98 and they asked if I could do double reds for my 100th today.”
Bob has 100 donations with CBC, but his lifetime total is actually higher. He grew up in Cleveland and started donating when he enlisted in the Air Force after high school. He played football during his four years in the service then went to U.D. on a football scholarship in 1960.
He started as a teacher with Dayton Public Schools and four years later became an assistant principal. Over the years a fellow Dayton principal encouraged him to keep donating. “I had a buddy whose son had cerebral palsy,” he said. “We would donate for his son. We’d come down here (Dayton CBC) and donate in his name.”
Bob retired from DPS after serving as principal at Kiser Middle School. He then spent the next 17 years as a probate court investigator helping establish guardianships for the elderly. He retired “for good” in 2015.
“Summer is not bad,” he said of his lighter schedule, “but winter drives me crazy.” To keep busy Bob and his wife Joyce have applied to volunteer at Miami Valley South Hospital. They’ve been married 27 years and together have five children and eight grandchildren.
“I miss the kids,” he said of his principal days. He’s part of a group of retired principals that meet for breakfast at the Legacy Pancake House on the first Tuesday of every month. They consider themselves “old school” when it comes to student discipline. “We always say that if we were still working today we’d probably be in jail,” he said. “Everything has changed.”
He said many of today’s students have discipline problems because of issues at home. He’s thankful for his childhood in Cleveland and his big Italian-American family.
“I grew up as one of 10,”he said. “My parents were from the old country. Education was the most important thing. That was it. All but two of us went to college, and those two went into the military.”
“When an adult told you what to do, you did it. No question. In school, you never had a teacher call home.”
Congratulations to Bob on a lifetime of answering the call, guiding young lives as an educator and helping save lives as a Donor for Life!