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Nov. 16, 1935 – July 31, 2013

Robert F. Lepore, an optician and entertainer known for his impersonations, died last Wednesday while under hospice care at Buffalo General Medical Center after a short illness. He was 77.

Born in Buffalo, Mr. Lepore graduated from Grover Cleveland High School and Erie County Technical Institute, where he completed the optical program. He also studied chemistry at the University of Buffalo.

He owned and operated Lepore Optical at Elmwood Avenue and Utica Street for more than 35 years, fitting customers for eyeglasses and contact lenses.

As a member of the Buffalo Rat Pack, he sang songs from the Frank Sinatra era and performed comedy at various festivals. He could impersonate more than 300 celebrities, including Bob Hope, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Benny, and cartoon characters, including Rocky and Bullwinkle.

“He was the life of the party,” said his brother, Joseph.

His talents took him on the road in the late 1990s when he was booked to perform at hotels in Las Vegas, Miami and Toronto.

But he found life on the road to be tough and lonely.

“He always came back to Buffalo, where his friends and family were,” said Mr. Lepore’s brother.

Mr. Lepore was also an avid weight lifter and body builder, and won many trophies at local contests.

Survivors, besides his brother, include two daughters, Dawn, and Renee Cooper.

A memorial gathering will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Joseph Spano and Sons Funeral Home, 885 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst.