Bob Castellini's oldest sibling offers insights on Cincinnati leader, Reds owner

From boyhood to business leader

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Claire Wilger has known Bob Castellini longer than anyone. As his oldest sibling, Wilger offered her insights into her highly successful 71-year-old brother through email with WCPO Digital.

Q:  What do you think Cincinnatians should know about Bob that they don't already know?

A: I don't think it has been reported what an avid reader he is.  Also, our mother sang and played the piano and in those days when Bob was very young, we older siblings often would gather around the piano and sing and harmonize.  That might have led to a certain love of music that he still has to this day. 

He has a great sense of loyalty: loyalty to his friends, his family and his business associates.  He (also) has a strong sense of justice; there is very little gray area in his view.  

Bob, abetted by our wonderful sister-in-law, Susie, has an enduring sense of the importance of family, and is quick to nurture it within his own family and also his extended family of siblings, with a lot of nieces and nephews who love and admire their "Uncle Bob."

Q: What was he like as a kid?

A: When he was in grade school, he was great at board games, checkers and Monopoly, thoughtful and focused which shows perhaps that business really came to him naturally.  As a teenager, he was fun loving - sometimes mischievous - but always with a great sense of humor.

Q: What impact did the early loss of his father have on him?

A: Anybody who has lost a parent at a young age knows how difficult it is, but as was Bob's nature, he had the strength to quietly work through it.

When I was a kid, and Bob was just a baby, my dad used to take me and some of my sisters to Crosley Field for those summer Sunday afternoon double-headers to see the Reds play.  Our dad really loved baseball and obviously Bob inherited that love. 

I regret that he was never able to have those special times with his Dad as he was growing up, but now he can share them with his own children and grandchildren. Of course, losing our father at such a young age affected us all. 

When I got married, Bob walked me down the aisle.  He was only 16, but he was the man of the house.  He took on those responsibilities.  I also think Bob developed a great sense of empathy for those who are in similar circumstances – who lose parents at an early age or any age for that matter.

Q: What do you think of his success?

A: I think his success is well deserved. He   works so hard –  24/7.  He really goes all out on anything he gets involved in.  He has the most energetic perseverance of anyone I know.  He has the knack for business and of getting quickly to the heart of a problem, and then doing something about it. 

He shares his success.  He is generous to many – including employees, family, organizations, and the church and deserving causes.  I think Bob sees the world through the prism of faith and family, and I think his biggest success has been in using his God-given talents to try to make that world a better place.

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