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Richard Pierucci


10/27/1947 - 04/05/2014 Obituary
Richard Pierucci Obituary
Dr. Richard "Rick" Peter Pierucci, whose distinguished career as an educator spanned four decades, died on April 5, 2014 after a long and courageous battle with melanoma. He was 66.
Rick worked four years as a junior high school teacher in Hanford, California, before beginning his thirty-six year tenure at the Norris School District in Bakersfield. Equally effective in all he did, Rick served Norris as a history teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and associate superintendent. After becoming a school administrator, Rick continued his teaching as an adjunct professor at local universities. His tireless diligence, intelligence, and modesty won him respect from all. Students, parents, and colleagues marveled at his ability to identify and nurture potential in others, especially children and teachers.
A Bakersfield native, Rick was born October 27, 1947 at Mercy Hospital. He attended St. Joseph's Elementary School, Garces High School, and Bakersfield College. He then pursued the study of history, earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After launching his career, Rick continued his education at Brigham Young University receiving a doctorate in educational administration.
As dedicated as he was to education, Rick's most significant roles were those of husband and father. Always decisive, Rick asked his wife Rita to marry him within one month of courtship. Rita accepted, and in 1980 they began their beautiful marriage, each devoted to and supportive of the other. Theirs was a marriage full of love, trust, and tolerance as much as it was free of doubt and conceit. As a team, they selflessly focused on their work and their children.
Rick and Rita had three children: David, Katie, and John. Rick enthusiastically supported them in all their activities. He was the biggest fan of David's music, Katie's volleyball, and John's basketball. He inspired in his children a belief that anything was possible through hard work, and he was never too busy to share a dad's wisdom in an effort to solve a problem. Seeing his children succeed in their academic, professional, and personal endeavors brought him great satisfaction. Beyond relishing his role as the family's loudest cheerleader, Rick was an avid golfer, true bookworm, and never missed a chance to hit the weights.
In addition to his wife and children, Rick is survived by his brother and sister-in-law Ernest and Adrienne Pierucci of Lafayette, California and nephews Richard and Peter. He was the beloved son-in-law to Elva Antoon; brother-in-law to Hon. John Antoon and wife Nancy, Ret. Col. David Antoon and wife Linda, and Dr. James Antoon and wife Susan; uncle to all his wonderful nieces and nephews; and father-in-law-to-be to Jessica Hodgkins. He was predeceased by his parents Fred and Theresa Pierucci.
The family extends its deepest thanks to the medical teams who helped Rick fight his battle, including doctors Stephen O'Day, Patrick Hsieh, Gabriel Zada, Richard Essner, Paul Pagnini, and Jackson Zhu, and all the nurses and therapists at USC's Keck and Norris Hospitals in Los Angeles and Health South in Bakersfield. Rita, David, Katie and John are grateful for the skill, dedication, and personal attention from these professionals who helped Rick defy the odds for so long.
Although he has passed, Rick's spirit and legacy continue through all who were fortunate enough to have known and loved him. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Dr. Richard P. Pierucci Scholarship Fund. Donations can be sent to the Norris School District Office c/o Cindy White, 6940 Calloway Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93312.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 1:30 pm at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 900 H Street, Bakersfield, CA 93304. A visitation will be held Friday, April 11, 2014 from 5 to 9 pm at Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mortuary, 9101 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield, CA 93306.
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Apr. 9, 2014
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