In Memory

Richard D'Olimpio

Richard D'Olimpio

Obituary for Richard D'Olimpio

Richard “Papa” D’Olimpio passed away in his home, surrounded by his beloved family, on February 24, 2021. He was born on September 9, 1945, in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the son of the late Alphonse D’Olimpio and Josephine Palazzolo D’Olimpio. 
Richard served in the U.S. Navy as a Hull Tech until moving to Alabama in 1973, where he spent most of his career as a Railroad Engineer, retiring in Millbrook, Alabama. He was bigger than life and all who knew him loved him. There was no end to the love and pride he had for his family and friends. He knew how to enjoy the little things in life and passed that appreciation for life to his loved ones. 
Richard is preceded in death by his wife, Rubye S. D’Olimpio, his son, Russ D’Olimpio (Jennifer), and grandson, BJ Harrod. Richard is survived by his children Rick D’Olimpio (Amy), Randy D’Olimpio (Dayna), Robyn D’Olimpio Frost (Greg), Donna Harrod, Janet H. Abdulla (Isam), Gayle H. Hegler, Billy Harrod (Paige); 26 grandchildren and many great grandchildren; sister Patricia D. Cucchiello (Richard), brother Peter D’Olimpio; and numerous nieces, nephews and many dear friends. 
A memorial mass will be officiated by Father James Dean at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Prattville on Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 11:00 am. A celebration of life with eulogy will be held at a later date. As an expression of sympathy, the family welcomes donations to Montgomery Cancer Center – Prattville or American Diabetes Association.

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02/25/21 11:59 AM #1    

Carl J. DeMatteo

I am very sad to report the passing of our classmate and friend Richard D'Olimpio.  Rich passed away yesterday 2/24/21 at home with his family and friends.  He was undergoing treatment for cancer that had spread to multiple organs.  He was one of my best friends and always looked forward to coming up here for our reunions.  He was a fun-loving person.  I once asked his son Randy, if he ever had down days or was ever nervous about anything.  Randy replied that his dad got nervous and upset for about 3 hours every month when he was paying his bills, but after he finished, he forgot about them and moved on.  On the many times we hung out together, all I can remember, is having fun with him.  I knew him from CCD classes at St. James when we were in elementary school, but we came to be real friends when we were in the same home room at the West.  He had a great attitude.  Life to him was nothing more than a series of fun events.  This is not to say that he didn't have tragic events in his life, and he was respectful of those events, but he always moved on with a positive attitude.  I never saw him hateful, jealous or hurtful.  He didn't have any need to satisfy his ego.  He always made other people feel special.

He was never anyone you could put a label on.  He never thought of himself as part of a special group of any kind.  He loved everyone.  At the reunions, Rich loved to visit every table and laugh and have fun with everyone.  

I could tell many stories from the last 60 years of our friendship and maybe I will, but for now, I'll tell you one that brought me back to earth.  I am a very intense person, and he was the antithesis of this.  About 10 years ago in speaking with one of my friends from high school, I was surprised to find out that my old high school friends used to say, "that F***ing DeMatteo, he thinks he knows everything...".  I was a little taken aback, so I asked Rich, “did you think I was that way in high school?"  He started whistling and rolling his eyes around.  I said, "damn, why didn't you say something to me?".  He replied, " you wouldn't have listened anyway because you thought you knew everything!".  That is a true honest friend.

I hope to post more as time goes on. 

03/01/21 12:35 PM #2    

Jane M. McCall (Barry)

Carl,  I am laughing instead of crying....that's the way Richie would like it.  Jane

03/02/21 06:23 PM #3    

Roberta H. Shumaker (Bergquist)

Richie was a true friend to all and always giving of himself.  The holidays will never be the same, Rich had a list of friends that he would call each holiday.  I consider myself fortunate to be one of those to be called.  His upbeat wishes will be fondly remembered.  My friendship started in West Junior High.  It continued with Rich and his wife Rubye.   The birth of his 3 children and later as he moved away from Arlington.  We were fortunate to be able to visit him when he lived in various states. When we saw him in Texas, he insisted we go see the Alamo.  It was not as we expected, being in downtown across from a multi-story mall.  Rich was so excited to learn that the “Remember the Alamo” was said by a man from Massachusetts.  The last visit we had was when he came to Lake Havasu City, AZ to visit us and attend the Balloon Festival.  It unfortunately was windy and rain.  We were able to see the balloons launch one early morning from the parking lot.  I remember how excited he was to watch the balloons ascend.  We all spent 3 days together and the rain did not dampen the fun.  Sandy told me that Rich had completed everything on his bucket list.  He had a great time and enjoyed life to the fullest.  RIP

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