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November 25, 1942 ~ October 29, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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Richard J. Lesko of Harwinton, Connecticut passed away on October 29, 2023, after a battle with prostate cancer.
Rich was born in Bayonne, New Jersey on November 25, 1942 and moved to Jersey City as a young child. There, he would meet his future wife Verna-literally the girl next door-whom he married on January 30, 1965. In Jersey City, Rich was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America and made the friends of his youth, with whom he shared stickball and street football games, pinochle sessions, and regular get togethers well into adulthood. He would (repeatedly) regale others with stories of his Jersey City exploits for the remainder of his years. Rich loved the Jersey Shore and took many vacations there throughout this life with his immediate and extended family. He would forever deem his teenage job as a dishwasher in Lavalette, which paid $1 an hour plus room and board, as “the best job he ever had.”
Rich graduated from Henry Snyder High School and was the first in his family to attend college, earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1964. He went to work for Fafnir Bearing in New Britain, followed by a brief stint at Capewell Manufacturing in Hartford. Rich was then hired by Torin Corporation in Torrington. He would stay at Torin for nearly two decades, eventually rising to the position of President of Nidec-Torin in 1984. In 1986, Rich left the corporate world and started his own business in Bristol, RSV Printing, which he owned and operated for over twenty years. After selling the printing business, Rich worked in a variety of full and part time positions until he finally retired in 2022.
Rich loved sports and was always up for a game. Throughout his life he enjoyed bowling, as well as playing golf, tennis, basketball, flag football, and ice hockey. However, softball always had a special place in his heart. He played for decades on the Torin softball team or one of its various spinoffs, alongside many good friends and work colleagues. He was also a devoted fan of the New York Giants and the New York Yankees before he briefly abandoned the bombers during the Bronx Zoo years in the late 70’s. He eventually returned to rooting for the pinstripes, and enjoyed watching the Yankees on TV regularly in his later years-usually offering a slate of detailed suggestions on how to improve their on-field performance to anyone who would listen. Although he grew up on the New York Rangers and enjoyed going to games at the old Garden with his Jersey City friends, he switched his allegiance to the Whalers during their time in Hartford and attended many games at the Civic Center with his son. Finally, he was an avid supporter of both the UCONN men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Being a family man was Rich’s most important accomplishment. He got the most satisfaction in life from being a husband, father, big brother, uncle, cousin, and most especially, a grandfather. Rich is survived by his wife of 58 years, Verna; his son Steve, daughter in law Lori, and granddaughter Megan; his brother J.R. Lesko and sister in law Joyce Wells; his sister Eileen Lesko-Eckert and brother in law Glenn Eckert; his sister in law Barbara Nappi; nieces Michael Westfield, Jennifer Brotten, Corinne Eckert, and Nicole Eckert; nephews Ken Nappi, Vernon Moore, Jason Eckert and Justin Eckert; as well as numerous cousins, great-nieces and great nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Andrew and Helen Lesko; sister-in-law Denise Fidiam; brother-in-law Louis Nappi; nephew Louis M. Nappi; and nephew Scott Moore.
Rich’s family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the doctors, nurses, patient care technicians, housekeepers, and other staff of the fifth floor at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital as well as to the nurses and social workers from Hartford Healthcare Hospice. Their care, professionalism, and compassion during Rich’s final days was nothing short of amazing.
Luddy and Peterson Funeral Home in New Britain handled cremation arrangements. There will be a private gathering of friends and family to remember and celebrate Rich’s life in the near future.
Donations in Rich’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society (donate.cancer.org) or to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (giving.charlottehungerford.org).