DEGREGORIO, Francis J.
Francis J. DeGregorio ("D.G. or Mr. D.") passed away after a long illness at Riverside Home and Health Care in East Hartford on July 22, 2012. Son of the late Carl and Isabel (DelGaudio) DeGregorio, he lived most of his life in East Hartford, a town he loved dearly. He was a product of local schools, a graduate of East Hartford High School in 1946. After two years in the Navy he attended Hillyer and Bethany Colleges, and then attended Springfield College for three years, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education and Science. He taught and coached in public and private schools on Long Island and in Connecticut. Early in his career, he went to work for IBM on Long Island. Actively involved in health, physical education, recreation and sports for most of his life, he was the recipient of the Revitalization Corps' John F. Kennedy Community Involvement Award, and recognized locally, statewide and nationally for endeavors in chosen fields. He also was one of three in the nation to win the United States Physical Fitness Leadership Award presented by the Jaycees, Metropolitan Life and the President's Council for Physical Fitness and Sports in Washington D.C. in 1970. He was an officer or director of several organizations, and past president and member of the Board of Directors of Connecticut Special Olympics and the East Hartford Area Coordinator. He also worked for the Town of East Hartford as the Director of Parks and Recreation and for several local distributors. Although he was a professional physical educator, a vocational concept which he had broadened through extensive research and action, D.G. made his major contributions as a volunteer in the community. His activities included talks and film presentations to the PTA's of greater Hartford, school boards, public officials, recreation departments, fraternal and civic organizations, plus private citizens, clinics and demonstrations of new concepts, particularly for the parents of children in parochial schools where physical education programs were few; promoted inter-town activities among adults; and painted game diagrams, such as hopscotch and sidewalk tennis, on the blacktop in urban areas. He also promoted a new approach to various sports to involve more people of a greater age-span by changing and modifying existing rules. D.G. took part in many projects such as Jonathan's Dream in West Hartford; The Podunk Music Festival in East Hartford; the Nutmeg State Games and many other state and local projects and events. D.G. professed "physical education and a physical fitness form a way of life" which he believed should be adopted as action rather than talk. At the age of 41 resulting from his commitment, he was a member of 13 organizations, some of which include the Community Council on Youth, East Hartford Human Relations Council, Greater Hartford Heart Association (where he volunteered alongside his wife, Barbara), the Connecticut Division of the American Cancer Society, and the Commissioner and Co-sponsor of the Central Connecticut Flag Football League, which he brought to the state of Connecticut. D.G. remained active in the community throughout most of his life. He was very active in Democratic Party; and won a humanitarian award; where State and local dignitaries spoke of his honesty, integrity, humanitarian efforts and his ability to lecture anyone and everyone if he thought it was necessary. He met and married his wife, Barbara Ruglio of Wethersfield in 1954, who predeceased him in 2000. Together they had four children who he leaves behind: Carol-Ann Neal and her husband Brian of Niantic, Francis DeGregorio, Jr. and his wife Debbie of Stratford, Tom DeGregorio of East Hartford, Virginia Crean and her husband Paul of Marlborough; and six grandchildren: Kristyn Neal, Cheri Kelly and her husband Jerry, Jamie Davidson and her husband Justin, Brad and Maddy DeGregorio, and Maggie Crean. He also leaves behind three great-grandchildren. He also leaves a special cousin, Joe Eremita of West Hartford, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and several brothers and sisters-in-law: JoAnn and Louis Gulino of Wethersfield; and Mary DeGregorio of Scotland, UK; his brothers, both of whom predeceased him, Joe DeGregorio and Carl DeGregorio of East Hartford and Enfield. He was also predeceased by several brothers and sisters-in-law, Marie and "Flip" Bordieri of Wethersfield; Tony and Norma Ruglio of Newington; and Richie and Eleanor Ruglio of Wethersfield, and many special life-long friends, among whom was his best friend, Bill Manierre of East Hartford and his wife, Emily, who reside in Ohio; and many friends, neighbors and acquaintances. He will be missed by all who knew him.
The funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday (July 31) at 10:30 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Church, Cambridge Drive, East Hartford, CT. Everyone is asked to go directly to the church. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, East Hartford. Calling hours will be Monday from 4-7 p.m. at the D'Esopo - East Hartford Memorial Chapel, 30 Carter Street, East Hartford, CT 06118. Memorial contributions in Mr. DeGregorio's name may be made to Special Olympics - Connecticut, 2666 State Street, Suite 1, Hamden, CT 06517. For online expressions of sympathy, please visit www.desopo.com.