Richard Dante Bonazzoli, 92, died at home in Hudson on Thursday February 16th. Born on September 29th, 1930 Richard lived a full life filled with the adventure of building. In 1951, against his father’s advice, he put his career with the family’s construction business on hold and enlisted in the U.S. Army with the intention of fighting the war in Korea. Fate intervened, and a bout of pneumonia during bootcamp delayed his deployment. While he was in recovery, the Army learned of his skills in construction; thus, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Kaiserslautern Germany to assist with the rebuilding of Germany after WWII.
Upon his return to the U.S. in 1954, he rejoined the family business, G. Bonazzoli & Sons (where he eventually rose to the position of president) and met and married Barbara LiPetri of Hudson in 1955. They were married for 59 years and had 9 children, all raised in Hudson. Richard and Barbara devoted their lives to their family.
Richard worked tirelessly as a construction superintendent, managing large projects such as the building of the Milham Reservoir Dam in Marlboro, a massive seawall in Cohasset, the repaving of Route 146, and an uncountable number of roads and bridges. Chances are if you travel the roads of Massachusetts, you have driven over a road or bridge Richard had a hand in building.
Richard was among a team of tough men who worked tirelessly to keep the roads clear during the Blizzard of 1978. Driving a 1942 Sterling truck, Richard plowed snow nonstop, day and night.
His career in construction lasted into his 70s, with his final large job being the demolition of the old Hudson High School in 2003/2004, a feat he accomplished with a large CAT backhoe.
Richard was an engineering wizard. He could design suspension bridges with a slide rule and drafting paper. He could fix anything and was a skilled carpenter. He was an accomplished welder, and certified to work with dynamite, a crucial skill in construction. He could farm land, which provided extra food for the family, and he could identify trees by looking at a single leaf. He was universally known as the man who could drive any vehicle and operate or repair any piece of machinery. He also had a pilot’s license. Flying brought him great joy. He had a strong sense of history, was a voracious reader of biographies and historical books, and was always interested in learning or improving his knowledge and skills.
When his sons were old enough to drive, Richard could be found working with them and their friends on their cars. From basic tune-ups to brake jobs and even engine replacements, the driveway was always occupied by someone’s vehicle being repaired.
After Barbara passed away in 2014, Richard befriended Mary Marrama, also of Hudson. They spent 8 wonderful years together laughing, dancing, and enjoying retirement. Mary is a special person and they were a special couple who lit up the room wherever they were. Mary was by Richard’s side when he passed.
During his journey through life, Richard endured the loss of his son Andrew in 2006, daughter Angelica in 2013, and son Brian in 2017. These losses were tough on Richard, but he persevered, stoic and strong and making every effort to keep his outlook positive and his time vital and active.
He is survived by six of his nine children (David, Nancy, Laura, Richard, Matthew, Damian) and four grandchildren (Carlo, Elizabeth, Lavinia, Felicity).
Relatives and friends are invited to a period of visitation from 8:30 to 10:30AM on Thursday, February 23, 2023 at Tighe Hamilton Regional Funeral Home, 50 Central St., Hudson, MA. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11am on Thursday, February 23, 2023 at Saint Michael Parish, 21 Manning St., Hudson, MA; followed by a procession to Old South Cemetery in Bolton for Committal Services.