WATERTOWN — State Auditor Robert J. Kane, 53, a former state senator, passed away unexpectedly on February 5, 2021, at his home. He was the proud father of Aidan and Deana Kane of Middlebury.
Rob was born on April 30, 1967, a son of the late James J. and Deana (LoRusso) Kane, Sr. Rob was a graduate of Sacred Heart High School, Central Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s in business administration and management and earned his MBA from the University of New Haven.
Rob was a successful entrepreneur who opened one of the first cell phone stores, KarTele Cellular Communications, in 1994. He gained his MBA while owning that store. As a long time resident of Watertown, he was first elected to represent the 32nd State Senate District in a special election on January 15, 2008. He held that position until becoming State Auditor in 2017.
The Deputy Minority Leader Pro Tempore and Caucus Chairman, Rob served as the lead Republican senator on the legislative panel which oversees state government spending. Rob was the leading Republican senator, or Ranking Member, of the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee. He was also Ranking Member of the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee, and he served on the Public Health Committee. Rob advocated for the issues that are important to Connecticut, especially to the people living in the 32nd District.
He was a leader in the push to create the Waterbury-Oxford Airport Development Zone, which allows the state to harness the high level of general aviation traffic at Waterbury-Oxford Airport to spur economic growth. The tax incentives in the zone are attracting new businesses and quality jobs.
Rob also spearheaded legislation to create the Connecticut Antiques Trail. The trail aims to boost tourism in Woodbury and the greater Waterbury region, connecting antiques businesses for marketing purposes.
He served as a corporator of Valley United Way, Inc., and as a member of Post University’s Master of Public Administration Advisory Council. Rob was past chair of the Watertown Town Council and served as chair of its Finance Subcommittee and founding chair of its Business Development Subcommittee.
He was a former chair of the Wolcott Street/Lakewood Road Business Association, a past president of the Professional Network Organization (Profnet) and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce.
He was a former board member of United Way, the Waterbury Association of Retarded Citizens and the Regional Workforce Investment Board. Rob was a past recipient of the Waterbury Regional Chamber Malcolm Baldrige Award for Volunteerism and a past recipient of the Waterbury Regional Chamber Harold Webster Smith Small Business Award.
Rob received the 2016 Radiological Society of Connecticut Award for his leadership in advocating for preventive healthcare services for women and access to services by all patients.
Rob was a full time “hockey and gymnastics” dad. He cherished spending time with Aidan and Deana. He was quick to send pictures of his “dad uber routes” to show where he was off to for the day’s events. He would tease them all the way with his quick oneliners and “dad jokes” much to their dismay.
He loved holidays with his extended family and especially loved St. Patrick’s Day. He was the life of the party as if the day was made for him.
He was an avid golfer at the Watertown Golf Club, a passion he shared with his children as many times as he could.
In addition, Rob loved the Boston Red Sox, New York Giants and participated in 20 years of his Fantasy Football League with his lifelong friends.
Besides his children, whom he loved and adored, Rob leaves to cherish his memory, his siblings, Maria Kane Slavin and her husband, John; Cheryl A. Kane and John Tarascio, James J. Kane, Jr., Diane S. Kane, all of Waterbury, and Christopher M. Kane of Wolcott, and several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial took place Saturday, February 13, at The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Waterbury. Burial followed in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Watertown.
Chase Parkway Memorial, The Albini Family Funeral Home, Waterbury, is in charge of arrangements.
Memorial contributions can be made in Rob’s memory to: Kane Children Education Fund, in care of Cheryl Kane or James Kane, P.O. Box 1214, Middlebury 06762.
For more information or to send e-condolences, visit www.chaseparkwaymemorial.com.