Obituary of Robert Castro

January 21, 2021

Entered The World - 18 MAY 1940
Departed the Earth - 21 JAN 2021

What is in one life can fill a world...
Robert Eric Castro Bermudez (a.k.a. and born under the name Roberto Erico Castro Bermudez) - A gentleman who was also a gentle man, a loving father, a reverent son, an adoring brother, a nurturing uncle, a loyal friend, a Garífuna Man, a warrior for social justice, a tireless advocate for business justice, a President and CEO of major real estate development companies, a superior critical thinker who also loved to laugh while giving someone in need - the shirt off of his back...departed the mortal Earth during the early morning hours of the 21st of January 2021.

The son of Cresencio Cruz Castro and Isolina Bermudez, he was born in the small Honduran coastal town of Santa Rosa de Aguán on the 18th of May, 1940. Cresencio, his father, was a merchant marine who traveled the world. Isolina, his mother, was a hard working "Chief Domestic Officer." She ran a strict household and made it home for three daughters (a.k.a., Títa, Núvia, and Carlota) and a son.

It was in this home that he went on to learn discipline, hard work, a thirst for knowledge, and a propensity for seeing/understanding how things work. He also learned about the world through stories, stamps, books, maps, and pictures that his father would bring back to him. Early on in his life he also learned the value of integrity...being true to what was right as he ascended to roles in high school student politics. A healthy sense of adventure, a need to thrive...would cause a "Son of Aguán" to travel the world in search of education and opportunities at the age of 19.

Keep in mind that there was a world war under way during the early years of his life and revolutionary changes were widespread around the world from 1940 forward. The word "exciting" seems to do little justice when describing the environment in which this "life story" takes place.

He served as the Student Council President while in high school. He rose to unwelcomed prominence when there was an effort to divide his school class by ethnicity. He urged the members of his class to remain in unity. It was important to him that his classmates maintain the bonds that got them to that point in their lives. There was success and a need to move on.

Eventually there was an arrival in New York City in 1961. New York City was the arrival point for many different religious and ethnic groups of people at the time. A particular group of people called the Garífuna (Gah-DEE-foo-nuh) had a small foothold community in the Bronx and Brooklyn. This group was very close knit and they provided support to newly arrived Garífuna people from Honduras, Belize (British Honduras), Nicaragua, Guatemala, and the island of St. Vincent-The Grenadines. The Garínagu have their roots in the west coast of the African continent.

During one of the many weekend social events he met, courted, and married Ms.Yvonne Garcia. From that union came two children, Victor Castro and Zina Sharperson. There was separation and divorce and an eventual union with Ms. Connie Sumaway. From that union came a child, Cathy Castro. There are also many loved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends that shared in the joy of each other's company.

Raising a family changes one's priorities. There was recognition that more needed to be done to repel injustices that faced many people in the United States. R. Eric Castro, as he had come to be known professionally, went on to run four companies that in partnership with other business entities shattered many glass ceilings. Those companies delivered structures like Medgar Evers College Main Campus Buildings in Brooklyn, The New York City Fireman's Training Center on Wards Island, Riverbank Park, The Schomburg Center and Library for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, The City Hall in Saugerties NY, Many SUNY (State University of New York) buildings managed by the Dormitory Authority - State of New York, and many other buildings that have not only stood the test of time...the works going on in them continue to have relevance as incubators for positive change and economic development. There were also businesses opportunities developed in places like Finland, Paraguay, Honduras, etc.

How did this all start, one might ask?... Clearly good upbringing, smarts, drive, determination, attention to detail, and more importantly than anything else - a strong desire make it better for those following are all admirable traits and qualities to have; however, they amount to nothing if one is not given an opportunity to exercise and display those traits and qualities.

The opportunity to move ahead happened quite improbably! R. Eric Castro was working as a "copy boy" at an engineering company called McKee, Berger, Mansueto. At the time they were doing engineering work for an exciting project in 1963. A seemingly small omission was found on a blue print that a junior draftsman had developed. When R. Eric Castro reported the omission in his broken English, Mr. Berger thanked him asked him where he learned to read drawings. He replied that he received training to become an engineer and that he had gone to school in Mexico City to study engineering. The omission would have been catastrophic under the heavy loads it needed to handle.

Immediately he was removed from making copies. He was relieved of those responsibilities because the project he found the error in was highly security sensitive. The project was engineering the launch crawler for the Apollo Saturn 1-B project.

He could not hold a clearance, so he was moved onto less sensitive projects. He was sponsored and mentored by the principals at McKee, Berger, Mansueto because they admired his work ethic and attention to detail. Eventually that sponsorship lead more responsibility, he gained a better handle on his writing and communication skills. He was also taught the ins and outs of project management by the three principals of the company. This eventually lead to the formation of his own company, Node 4 Construction Company. McKee, Berger, Mansueto subcontracted to Node 4 Construction for years until it finally became self sustaining. The first projects involved building the retail spaces for OTB parlors (Off Track Betting).

These accomplishments eventually lead to a chairman's leadership position at the National Association of Minority Contractors, R. Eric Castro helped drive sweeping rule changes which opened up construction and real estate business opportunities for many men and women of color and women of all colors. He also served as a leader in providing aid to Hondurans affected by the many hurricanes that pounded his country of birth. Eventually, R. Eric Castro earned his US citizenship in 1980. It was a proud moment for him and his family.

R. Eric Castro was preceded in death by his parents Cresencio Cruz Castro and Isolina Bermudez Castro, his brother Cresencio Castro and his sister Ana Carlota Castro; he is survived by his children: son, Victor Manuel Castro; daughters Catherine Castro and Zina Castro; sisters, Bertha Waterhouse and Nuvia Velasquez; and was a loving grandfather to Jesse (daughter of Zina), Caroline, and Charlotte (daughters of Cathy). He also leaves behind a host of nieces, nephews, extended family, countless friends and other loved ones.

A memorial service celebrating the life of R Eric Castro, will be held on the 30th of January, 2021. The time and particulars details will be made available in the upcoming days.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society, the National Association of Minority Contractors, The Schomburg Center and Library for Research in Black Culture and/or the Southern Poverty Law Center in the name of Robert Eric Castro.
"Leave the world better than you found it..."

- R. Eric Castro

Funeral Services


January 25, 2021

12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Crestwood Funeral Home

445 West 43rd Street

New York, NY 10036

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In my heart forever

Posted by: Carol Lee - Chicago, IL - January 24, 2021

Erico! O Erico!!!! you have departed but memory of you will remain with me until my final days. Thanks for the job you got me at McKee Berger Mansueto; From that job, I got to understand better what engineers do for a living. Although we didn't see each other much because we lived in different states. I always thought about you I also spoke about you to my wife and children. My wife and I thank you for being the best man and Yvonne matron at our wedding.
Rest in Peace Erico....We will meet again!!!

Efrain /Rita Castro

Posted by: Efrain Castro - Plano, TX - January 25, 2021

Condolences and prayers to this loving family and friends

Posted by: Nilsa Velasquez - Belleville, NJ - January 30, 2021

Condlolences tonthe family. Uncle Erico build many great buildings but his greatest accomplishment was the family he built inclusive of his children, neices, nephews and many relatives

Posted by: Miriam Dobson - Hagerstown, MD - January 30, 2021