Catholic 02
Official Obituary of

Robert Charles Goyena, Sr.

October 23, 1944 ~ February 19, 2024 (age 79) 79 Years Old

Robert Goyena, Sr. Obituary

Remembrance of the Christian Life of Robert Charles Goyena, Sr.;

Robert Charles Goyena, Sr. (Bob) was born, the third of four children, to Joseph and Isabella Goyena, in Brooklyn, New York on October 23, 1944. “Bobby” was treated like a young prince by his brothers, Don and Joe, who were each nearly 10 years old by the time he came along. He was blessed with a younger sister, Dorene, a few years later. His parents and his older brothers modeled for the younger children an indomitable will to accomplish virtually any task. The stories are many, and they are legendary in the family.

Growing up with the freedoms of movement that life in Brooklyn offered, he explored the parks, the shops, and the waterways, loving handball, chess with the “old men”, the boat his brother gave him, and the occasional stray dog that he would encourage to follow him home by tossing fresh ground beef over his shoulder. There was an innocence about him and yet he assessed situations quickly. Sometimes, this brought lessons that made life difficult, but he always seemed to have an angel looking out for him. Among his friends, Eddie Barberi is specially honored, Bob having taken Edward as his confirmation name in gratitude for Eddie rescuing him from a catch-22 that began long before Bob could have known better.

He met his very own angel on earth quite by chance in Rockaway Beach. Mary Ann Olenski was there with a group of friends, and when someone in her group knew someone in his group, a sort of circle formed…and suddenly, taking the chance and jumping into the center of the circle, he pointed at Mary Ann, saying “I’m gonna get YOU!” She was quite flattered and a bit uncertain, but true to his word, they spent hours together on the town that night, and then dated for the next three years. As he courted her, first in a sharkskin suit, then in cutoff sweats, her mother, Mary, jokingly would ask “Where did you get him from? Throw him back to the jellyfish!” He won over Mary Ann’s heart, and her mother’s, but when he asked her father, Walter, for her hand, his not-so-gentle response was… “Humph…I’m not going to answer for her…You ask her for yourself!” (pretty enlightened for a father in 1967) Well, she did say yes, and then her father broke out the party, inviting dozens of the relatives who lived close by over for an impromptu celebration. Bob and Mary Ann were married on October 21, 1967 at Mary Ann’s parish of Saint Stanislaus in Ozone Park, Queens. It almost didn’t happen, though, as the limousine driver got lost on the way to Bob’s parents’ house in Brooklyn. This left a fully-grown groom in a tux and three fully-grown groomsmen with only one car…his friend Karl’s prized 1960s two-seater convertible! Karl drove, Bob got the passenger seat, and the other two groomsmen sat on the trunk with feet in the well behind the front seat. They drove 30 minutes, bottoming out with sparks on the bridge and never a complaint from his kind friend. And thank goodness for this extraordinary favor, because Bob & Mary Ann celebrated over 56 years of marriage together. He would always marvel aloud to his children and grandchildren at how lucky he had been to marry her, how beautiful she was, how hard she worked, and how her virtues made his world a better place.

During their courtship, which coincided with the time of the Vietnam War, his father advised him: “If you’re going to fight, you should make sure you know how—so join the marines.” Bob served in the Marine Corps, getting into fighting shape at Paris Island. And, in a twist of fate, he was able to complete his service in the marine reserves very close to home and his beloved Mary Ann. He worked with his brother, Joe, as a salesman in the moving and storage business. The two of them, both still quite young, were among the top salespeople in the national firm.

After Bob & Mary Ann got married and moved to Brooklyn, they often got together with family and their lifelong friends, couples who all stayed married for decades, as he would often remark with wonder and gratitude. Bob was always ready to have fun, often starting it, and he loved good food, good music, and good company.

In 1970, he and Mary Ann moved to the Baltimore area, and then in a short time they were blessed with two children, Robert Charles and Suzanne Gabrielle. Their family was also enriched when Mary Ann’s parents, sister, brothers, and sister-in-law all moved to Maryland just a few years later, re-creating the close-knit extended families that Bob and Mary Ann each had growing up. Sunday meals, birthdays, and other get-togethers were the core of his life in Maryland.

In the early 1970s, Bob moved from the hotel business into his ultimate career of catering. This came after a promotional political event he brought to his hotel landed him a massive off-premise catering event for the successful candidate. The event—with thousands of guests and food carted across city streets escorted by police stopping traffic—caught the attention of one of the best caterers in Baltimore. He was hired on the spot! After a successful stint in Baltimore, his career moved to Washington, DC, where he helped build one of the largest catering firms in the city in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Always an early adopter of technology, he used very early cell phones to outmaneuver competitors and secure contracts before his rivals had even returned to their offices! He innovated and created great events for notable people including numerous Presidents, dignitaries, and business leaders. But his biggest joy came from helping countless couples celebrate their wedding days.

In the 1980s, Bob and Mary Ann started a family catering business. The indomitable will that his upbringing instilled in him enabled him to overcome many challenges on the path to success. He always focused on the people he served as well as the people on the team who helped make it all happen. In service to his clients’ celebrations, he created beautiful event venues. In kindness to those experiencing challenges, he was always there to listen and offer help. He used his keen insight to improve the lives of people around him. Many people would meet him at what they thought was simply a catering business, and then leave with a changed life.

For instance, Maureen Hoffman. She came into one of Bob’s venues with a binder in hand, intent on planning a conference, and Bob set her up with the conference, sure. But more importantly, he set her up with a husband—his son! Bob was always proud of this and Robert was eternally grateful.

Bob was further blessed and completely overjoyed when Suzanne met and married Oracio Pereira. Bob loved Oracio as a son, and always said that he couldn’t have been happier than he was with the man who married his daughter.

Bob’s legacy could be thought of as the tens of thousands of events his firm catered, and the buildings and the successes. But, he saw all of that as a way to bring joy through celebration. And, perhaps even more importantly, the business served as a central place for his family to be together. He was never more proud and joyful at work than when he was teaming up with his wife and Suzanne and Robert, until he became even happier when Oracio and Maureen joined them at work.

Except, Bob was kind of never exactly just “working”. He was always engaging, emoting, enjoying—in short, living. And his living blurred the lines between work and family, completely disregarding the idea of work-life balance in favor of something different—love.

And never was this love more apparent than when he was with his grandchildren: Celeste Catherine Goyena, Joseph Robert Pereira, Robert Charles Goyena III, Matthew Abilio Pereira, Mary Grace Isabel Goyena, Michael Walter Pereira, and Isabella Cristina Pereira. These were the people you would hear about if you had a business meeting with Bob. Much more often than hearing about your menu or your event arrangements, you would hear about his grandchildren, his children, and his amazing wife. And he would hear about your family. And you would relate. And you would enjoy. And you would live in each other’s presence in a loving connection.

This love emanated from Bob’s deep, life-long love of God, his desire to continue to grow always towards the example of Jesus, and, in later years, the ever-calming, gentle, and mollifying presence of his daily Rosary prayers. Bob found the Rosary after many years searching to find a prayerful way to express the spiritual love he had within him. And his devotion to God, to Jesus, and to Mary in the Rosary was unfailing, each and every day for decades. Because of his conviction in his faith, and his earthly successes, others would sometimes ask his counsel, or welcome it when offered. Bob saw in others the promise of God’s love, and though he handed out ever so many Rosary beads to those who asked, he didn’t judge someone’s faith tradition or starting point, but encouraged them along their own journeys. We trust that God sees the arc of Bob’s own journey of faith and love and that, with the intercession and prayers through Jesus’ own Mother, that He will welcome Bob safely and swiftly into Heaven.

Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Charles Goyena, Sr., please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Robert Charles Goyena, Sr.?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Robert's memory.


February 26, 2024

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, P. A.
12540 Clarksville Pike, Rt 108
Clarksville, Maryland 21029

February 26, 2024

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, P. A.
12540 Clarksville Pike, Rt 108
Clarksville, Maryland 21029

Funeral Mass
February 27, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Louis Catholic Church
12500 Clarksville Pike
Clarksville, MD 21029

Video is available for this event

Interment following Funeral Mass
February 27, 2024

St. Louis Cemetery
5950 Ten Oaks Road
Clarksville, MD 21029


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856


© 2024 Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, P.A.. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility