Richard Francis Piotrowski, Sr., Professional Engineer (P.E.), passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Saturday, February 1, 2020, following a hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer. He was the husband of Claudia (Rund) Piotrowski, with whom he shared 48 years of marriage.
Born in Manchester, New Hampshire on March 13, 1945, he was one of two sons to the late Stanley and Marion (Rubino) Piotrowski, moving to Plainville in 1947. He was a proud graduate of Plainville High School, Class of 1963, where he met many lifelong friends and the love of his life, Claudia. They married in 1971 and remained in Plainville where they raised their two children who were his pride and joy, as anyone who ever met and spoke to Rich would quickly realize. Rich was their biggest supporter, always encouraging them to pursue their dreams, and was truly proud of all their accomplishments.
Rich earned an Associate’s Degree in Civil Technology from Hartford State Technical College in 1965 and later earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut’s (UConn) School of Engineering in 1969. After graduating and receiving his P.E. license, he advanced his engineering experience and responsibilities through various positions.
As a highly respected Professional Engineer, Rich joined the State of Connecticut’s Department of Public Works (DPW) in 1984 as Assistant Chief of Design and Review of Engineering, and was later promoted to Assistant Director of Facilities Design and Construction. Rich continued to grow professionally at DPW, serving first as Deputy Commissioner of Design and Construction under Governor William O’Neil and then Bureau Chief of Facilities, Design and Construction. During his nearly 20 years of State service, he served under four different Governors, and oversaw several major projects including the State Prison Construction Program, the construction of Gampel Pavilion at UConn, and the Connecticut Fire Training Academy in Windsor Locks, amongst many others. After retiring from the State, he was hired as Vice President of the Liro Group out of New York, where he provided engineering consulting support. Rich has shared his invaluable knowledge and expertise at countless Construction Trade Organization functions and seminars throughout the Northeast and was part of several professional affiliations.
Rich was the recipient of many honors over the years. Some notable highlights include the Distinguished Service Award from the Plainville Jaycees in 1980, the Distinguished Managerial Service Award from the State of Connecticut in 1994, and he was recognized by the Construction Institute of Connecticut with the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2001 for his contributions to the advancement of Connecticut’s construction industry.
Rich was passionate about his local community of Plainville and served on the Plainville Town Council for four terms between 1975-1987 as Chairman and Vice Chairman, as well as serving on the Building Committees for the new construction of both the Middle School of Plainville and the Fire House. Rich also served on the Aviation Commission for 10 years and the Charter Revision Commission. He was a member of the Advisory and Distribution Committees of the Plainville Community Fund, and served as Treasurer for the past two years. He was also an active member of the Democratic Town Committee.
A sports enthusiast, Rich was a fan of UConn Basketball, Boston Red Sox Baseball, the NFL, and enjoyed watching and attending NASCAR and Indy races. Rich had a passion for traveling and planning vacations with his family, having visited 38 states and 5 countries. He made it a point to visit MLB stadiums in all the major cities he traveled to. Some of his other favorite vacation destinations included Walt Disney World in Florida, California, and various places throughout New England but mostly, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire and Maine. In addition to sports, he enjoyed attending concerts with his wife regularly. Anyone who came into contact with Rich knew he loved to tell a good story, enjoyed making friends with strangers, and always provided a good laugh with his sense of humor. A true gentleman, Rich’s kindness, selflessness, generosity and love for his family and the impact he made on this world will be forever cherished.
In addition to his beloved wife, Claudia, he leaves his son, Richard F. Piotrowski, Jr. and his wife, Tara; his daughter, Courtney Piotrowski; his uncle, Gasper “Sonny” Rubino and his wife, Mary; sisters-in-law, Barbara Roussel, Marie Ferrante, and Bernadette Pavano; brothers-in-law, Charles Rund and his wife, Maureen and William Rund and his wife, Barbara; many cousins, nieces and nephews; and his lifelong friends, Jimmy Adams and Mike Kolakowski. He was predeceased by his brother, Stephen. Rich and his family will always remain grateful to his kidney donor and “living angel”, Kathie Wynkoop for the gift of life she shared with him over two years ago.
The family extends their gratitude to the nurses and staff at Southington Care Center for their compassion and support during his time there.
Rich may be remembered with contributions to the Plainville Community Fund, PO Box 156, Plainville, CT 06062.
Family and friends may gather in celebration of Rich’s life on Wednesday, from 4-7 p.m. at Plainville Funeral Home, 81 Broad St, Plainville. Funeral services will be on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be held privately at a later date.
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