Robert was born July 18, 1957, to Anita and Jim Alford, the second of five children. September 1981 was a month to remember, as he joined the FDNY and also married the love of his life, Susan. It was a marriage of passion, respect, and endless unconditional love. During their 34 years of marriage, they were blessed with twin boys, Michael and Scott.
Robert started his career with the FDNY as a probationary firefighter to E236 in East New York, one of the busiest engine companies in the city. After several years, he decided to try his hand at a truck and transferred to L123 on St. John’s East, where he remained until his promotion to lieutenant. Seeking a skilled fire office to fill a vacancy, he ultimately was assigned to E231. Established as a gritty fire officer, “The Big Swede,” as he was affectionately called, quickly made a home on Watkins Street and was beloved by all.
Robert was a passionate gardener, an exceptional softball player, a master carpenter, and a helpful neighbor, always cooking large meals. Above all, he was a family man who participated in all aspects of his two boys’ lives, from volunteering with Eagle Scouts to being a Little League coach. He was extremely proud of the new home he had built to enjoy his retirement years with his wife, Susan, but his life was cut short so unexpectedly.
Robert could be very comical at times, and if there was any anger towards him, his heartfelt laugh and beautiful blue eyes would melt anyone who saw them. He was our Bert, and his sense of humor will be missed. To humbly help anyone at any time—stranger, neighbor, family, close friend—Robert was always there. He was a hero to all of us, and we will never forget. We hold him tightly in our hearts, and there he will remain until the day that we are with him again.