Class of 1963
Raphael DeSalvo was born June 30, 1946, in Center Ridge, AR, to Anthony "Tony" Luke DeSalvo and Frances Paladino DeSalvo, the 18th of 19 children. Desiring to enter religious life in the footsteps of an older half-brother, Abbot Raphael DeSalvo, and an uncle, Fr. Christopher Paladino, he came to Subiaco Academy for high school, where he graduated with the class of 1963.
After two years of studies at St. Bernard College in Cullman, Alabama, he entered Subiaco Abbey as a novice, and pronounced his first vows on September 8, 1966, receiving the name Tobias. He continued his education at St. Louis University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in theology from that institution in the spring of 1968.
In 1968 Br. Tobias began a long career as teacher and dean at Subiaco Academy, teaching both religion and driver education from 1968 to 1993. Being talented in mechanical matters, he was in charge of Academy vehicle maintenance from 1978 until 1999, and was one of the regular bus drivers.
Along with his duties in the school he was appointed caretaker of the Abbey vineyard and cellar in 1971, making use of another talent that he had learned from his father: making the table and Mass wine for the Abbey. In 1992 Br. Tobias was appointed Director of Facilities. In this capacity he managed the maintenance department of the Abbey and Academy until 1999.
In May 1999 Br. Tobias was assigned to Santa Familia Monastery, our daughter house in Belize, Central America, where he remained for one year. In June 2000 Br. Tobias was appointed to the Abbey Farm, which was in the very early stages of putting together a registered Black Angus herd. Besides the constant need for care and feeding of these animals and the volumes of statistics and record-keeping that were required, Br. Tobias spent many hours caring for the pastures and baling the hay that would be needed and mending the fences that are always in need of repair.
Throughout his years at the Abbey, Br. Tobias was active in the Marriage Encounter movement in Arkansas, worked with many Catholic youth groups as a counselor in various programs and served as coordinator of religious education for the Subiaco Deanery for several years.
Brother Tobias died on January 18, 2009, after a short illness. Survivors included three brothers: Michael DeSalvo of Dallas, TX, and Tony J. and Thomas DeSalvo of Center Ridge, AR; eleven sisters: Sr. Marie Rose DeSalvo of Fort Smith, AR; Clara Granger of Edmond, OK; Emma Petty of Shelby, OH; Virginia Lambert of Carmichael, CA; Beatrice Miller of Center Ridge, AR; Margaret Hart and Patricia Hart of Springfield, AR; Christina Koch, Angela Malik and Dolores Hartman, all of Morrilton, AR; and Antonette Hall of Greenbrier, AR.