Raphael D. Rusty Oliver Jr.

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Raphael D. "Rusty" Oliver Jr.

August 04, 1951 - August 25, 2018

Raphael D. Rusty Oliver Jr. Gloucester - Raphael D. “Rusty” Oliver Jr., 67, of Gloucester, passed away at Lahey Hospital, Burlington, on August 25, 2018, surrounded by family and loved ones.
Rusty was born and raised in Gloucester, MA on August 4, 1951, son of Raphael D. “Raphie” Oliver Sr. and Geraldine Oliver, both of Gloucester. He attended St. Ann’s and St. Peter's High School. Tenacious and very much an entrepreneur from a young age, Raphael first started working at his family’s luncheonette, the Koffee Kup, shining shoes. In 1965, he started Rusty’s Rent-a-Bike in front of his parents ice cream stand, Surf Side Softie. His father Raphie had purchased five boys and five girls bikes, along with five tandems, for him to rent out during the summer season. At $3.50 for a half day, and $5 for a full day, Rusty had made back the money on the bikes in the first summer, and continued to rent them for the following summers to come, except the next summer he was paying some kids $5 a day to rent the bikes for him while he took surf lessons on Long Beach in Rockport. It was at his parents sub shop, the Yellow Sub II on Front Beach in Rockport, where Raphael really started his introduction into the service industry. As a renowned figure in the Restaurant Industry, Raphael started perfecting his trade at the age of 18 when he moved to West Palm Beach, Fla. working as a glass boy at the Breaker’s Hotel. His hard work and determination proved effective, as he worked his way up to wine steward, then Chef Sommelier. He then moved out to the West Coast to be with Debby, finally settling in San Francisco for the next 11 years, where he worked as the Assistant Food and Beverage Director at the Holiday Inn at Fisherman’s Wharf, and then Maitre d' at the Crown Room at the Fairmont Hotel. The two decided to relocate back to the East Coast to raise their children around family, where he worked at the Colonial Hotel, did a season as Maitre d' at the Mount Washington Hotel, and finally the Top of the Hub in Boston, initially as a Food Manager, but within a year was promoted to General Manager. It is there where he spent the next 25 years of his career, creating lifelong relationships with his staff, customers, and colleagues alike. Raphael was an influence and mentor in his trade, and advised in many different outlets. He was a member of the National Restaurant Association, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, Skall, and DiRona. Raphael was also a Renaissance Sergeant in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. SGT Raphael D. Oliver was the 6th Sergeant of the Infantry for the Renaissance Sergeants of the AHAC of Massachusetts under the Captain Commanding Dominic A. Previte during 2015-2016. His professional expertise in the Restaurant Industry and as General Manager of the Top of the Hub Restaurant made their July 4th Celebration Event the most successful event for the Renaissance Sergeants. His leadership role, comradery, and business acumen established the goal, the likes of which no other Sergeants Group will ever achieve again. He lived for his late wife Deborah and their three children, providing them with the best life that he possibly could. He was an avid golfer and a member of the “6:52’s” group at the Ferncroft Country Club. Raphael loved to travel and immerse himself in other cultures, and often did so with his family, friends, and colleagues. He spent his three years of retirement living his life to the fullest, traveling more than ever, with his partner Grace Muniu; taking multiple cruises to Alaska, Cuba and through the Panama Canal. As well as traveling internationally to Italy, Malta, France and Ireland. Raphael was predeceased by his beloved wife, Deborah Elaine Oliver. Left to cherish his memory is daughter Nina-Marie Gordon and her husband Steve; his sons Raphael D. Oliver III and Gilbert Roderick Oliver; three grand-daughters, Scarlett May Oliver, Cordelia Rose Oliver, and Brooklyn Grace Gordon, with his fourth grandchild due any day; his partner Grace Muniu; his parents, Raphael D. Oliver Sr and Geraldine Oliver; his sister, Renee Nicastro and her husband, Joe; and many nieces and nephews.
His services will be held at a later date, sometime mid December. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to: Team Debba at the LLS. The link is as follows, https://pages.lightthenight.org/ma/BostonL18/TeamDebba Arrangements are by the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington St. Gloucester, MA. Online condolences may be given at: www.greelyfuneralhome.com.
Published on September 6, 2018
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