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Sister Remembers Westport Triathlete Who Died

WESTPORT, Conn. – The sister of a triathlete who died after competing in the Sherwood Island Sprint Triathlon on June 17 paints the picture of a devoted father, husband and athlete in a eulogy that she sent to The Daily Voice .

The complete eulogy written by Jean Grela is available below. Robert Hartline, 62, of Wallingford died on June 18 at Norwalk Hospital. A published report said Hartline suffered cardiac arrhythmia during the half-mile swim of the sprint triathlon and was pulled unconscious from the water. The swim is the opening leg of the race.

Grela said her brother was a fierce competitor. “Bob never met a sport he didn't like he was a gifted athlete and avid Yankee and Giants fan,’’ Grela wrote. “I hate to mention it Bob but you were a bit of a sore loser. Competitive to the end. I remember many a rousing board game when we spent Christmases in Vermont. At the Easter egg hunts at my house, bob would bring sneakers so he could outrun me for the eggs. Little did he know I wasn't that fast in high heels.”

Hartline was married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. At age 57, she was also competing in the sprint triathlon, according to the published report, and was waiting for her husband to emerge from the water. "My brother could not have picked a better partner for himself and for our family,’’ Grela wrote.

Robert Hartline is also survived by two sons, Matthew and Brian. “Bob was a loving father. He was very close to his boys and enjoyed them so,’’ Grela wrote. “Watching the boys play sports was a thrill for him, but I can't say for sure how much he liked Brian's rock band I am not sure because I wasn't there. I do know he did like that song titled man behind the mustache.”

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