1950 – 2017
After a long illness, Richard Stanley Fitol of Woodstock, CT passed from this earthly world to the next. He was born in Derby, CT, the much loved, only child of Wanda (Poteraj) and Stanley Joseph Fitol, both deceased. Richard lived in Derby, New Haven, and Hamden before moving to Woodstock in 2005 with his beloved fiancée, Beverly Johnson.
In addition to his fiancée, he also leaves his dear cousins Renee Poteraj of Branford and Yvonne Poteraj Vanderhorst (Peter) of Melrose, MA. During their many years together, Beverly’s family members also became Richard’s loving family: Gregory Catalano (Kristen Herman) and Amy Catalano. He was a doting Gramps and Dziadzi to Abbey Catalano and Max Corvino.
Richard graduated from Derby High School in 1967 and received his B.S., M.S., and 6th year Professional Study degree from Southern Connecticut State University. He was the Librarian/Media Specialist at Shelton High School for over 30 years and was also the Librarian at Wallingford’s Sheehan High School Adult Education Program for over 20 years. For more than two decades, he served as a volunteer firefighter, attaining the rank of Lieutenant, at the East End Hose Company 3 in Derby.
The family wishes to gratefully acknowledge the professional expertise and loving care Richard received from Dr. Mandeep Dhami, the nurses and staff of the Day Kimball Oncology Department, and Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern CT during the past year and one half. They are also thankful for the services of the Emergency Personnel of the Bungay Fire Brigade and the Eastford Independent Fire Company #1.
Richard was also predeceased by his maternal grandparents, Helen and Walter Poteraj, and special aunt and uncle, Antoinette and Henry Poteraj, all of New Haven. His Polish heritage was extremely important to him since all of his grandparents came to the United States from Poland. His trip to Poland with his childhood friend, Joseph Bienkowski, was among one of his most cherished memories. He was a member of the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford and has a vast collection of Polish books and memorabilia.
Richard and Beverly were also members of the Finnish American Heritage Society of Canterbury, CT. He was a generous contributor to functions at FAHS, but wanted no acknowledgement of his gifts. He asked that his gifts be attributed to one of his favorite cats, Tonto, although few people were fooled.
Richard was a lover of nature and animals who was nicknamed “Earth” at East End Hose as he attended the first Earth Day Rally on the New Haven Green. He was an inveterate reader, crossword puzzle aficionado, and a dynamite Jeopardy player.
Richard’s love of music was eclectic. Among his favorite works were the compositions of Chopin, Sibelius, and Dvorak; the recordings of Boz Skaggs, Tony Bennett, Ladysmith Black Mumbaza, Big Band music, and the ska band, Springheeled Jack, including former SHS graduate, Ron Ragona.
While at Shelton High School, Richard was especially proud of being an advisor to the SEED Club (Students Enraged at Earth’s Destruction) with Beverly and their colleague and great friend, Jeff Moriarty. SEED was a ground breaking organization that sponsored many Earth Day Fairs and also several SPAD (Social-Political Awareness Day) fairs.
Richard Fitol will be remembered as a sincere, dependable, quiet, and gentle man (with bursts of witty quips) who displayed unswerving devotion to his beliefs and his loved ones. May he rest in peace and be within your hearts forever.
A Memorial Service will be held for Richard at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden CT at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Donations may be made in his name to East End Hose Company 3 in Derby, Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter, Bungay Fire Brigade in Woodstock, or www.mds-foundation.org. Interment will be private at the family’s convenience. For memorial guestbook, visit www.GilmanAndValade.com