Richard Charles Willard, age 86, passed away peacefully Friday, June 20, 2014, at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.
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He was born June 17, 1928, to Samuel and Esther (Briggs) Willard in Hartford. Richard, who was also known as Dick, Dad, Big Mic, and Papa, was married to Sally Dickson for 55 years. He was an East Hartford native where Dick and Sally raised their family, then moved to South Glastonbury 26 years ago.
Besides his wife, he leaves three children and their spouses, Brian and Frances (Roberts) Willard of Leesburg, Virgina, Timothy and Susan (Galuska) Willard of South Glastonbury, and Laura and Andrew Peterson of South Windsor. He was blessed with seven grandchildren, Christopher and Andrew Willard, Matthew and Samuel Peterson, and Carey, Liam, and Lucas Willard.
Dick graduated from East Hartford High School in 1946, New York University School of Accounting in 1950, and Georgetown University Law School in 1955. He was a member of the Connecticut Air National Guard, which was activated during the Korean Conflict, and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force. After receiving his law degree he began his law practice in the office of Judge Levi P. M. Hickey, subsequently practicing law with the Hon. John Brennan, Gerald Brady, and Ralph Alexander. He was a member of the Hartford County Bar Association, Connecticut State Bar Association, and admitted to practice in U.S. District Court. He was corporation counsel for the town of East Hartford, serving under mayors John Torpey and John Brennan. Dick served in the Connecticut State House of Representatives representing the 11th (then 15th) District from 1969 to 1981. He served on various committees, including the Judiciary Committee, Ethics Committee, and was chairman of the General Law Committee. He was very proud of legislation that was introduced by him that established the boundary of Hartford and East Hartford as the center of the Connecticut River. He also served as chairman of the Hartford County Bar Association's Admitting Committee. Dick was a 53-year member of the East Hartford Lions Club, where he served as president and was a Melvin Jones Fellow. He was a life member and past judge advocate of the Knights of Columbus Rev. J.C. Martin Council. Dick was an organizer and first president of the East Hartford Jaycees where many lasting friendships were forged. He served as a former president of the East Hartford Little League, and was an enthusiastic sports fan, particularly the New York Yankees, Big East basketball, and the San Antonio Spurs. Dick was a summer vacationer at Point O' Woods beach for over 60 years where he enjoyed relaxation and enjoyment with his family.
Besides his parents he was predeceased by his brother-in-law, John Nesteruk. He is survived by his sister, Joanne Nesteruk of Manchester, and his sister and brother-in-law, Diane and Thomas Guertin of Palm Coast, Florida; as well as a niece, Janet Nesteruk Packer; two nephews, Jeffrey and James Nesteruk; cousins and many dear friends.
Dick's family would like to thank and acknowledge the compassion and excellent care he received at Saint Francis Hospital, especially the nurses and staff on 89 (Chawla Surgical Center) and the cardiac intensive care unit. "Miss me, but do not mourn me."
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 10 a.m. in Saint Augustine Church, 55 Hopewell Road, South Glastonbury, followed by burial in Saint Mary's Cemetery, East Hartford. Everyone is asked to meet directly at the church.
Friends and relatives may call at Mulryan Funeral Home, 725 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury, today, June 23, 2014, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Memorial donations may be made to East Catholic High School, 115 New State Road, Manchester, CT 06042; or American Liver Foundation, 127 Washington Ave., North Haven, CT 06473.
For online condolences please visit
Mulryan Funeral Home
725 Hebron Avenue Glastonbury, CT 6033
Published in Journal Inquirer from June 23 to June 27, 2014