Richard A. Cabral Jr.

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Richard Cabral Jr., 37; fun-loving 'mill boy' and family man

They miss Richard A. Cabral Jr. at work.

They miss his tattoos, the ones featuring characters from author J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. They miss the jokester who sometimes wore a crown at work, fashioned from the twist-ties used to close bread bags.

For the last six years, Richard, 37, of Attleboro, has been one of the "mill boys," the guys who worked together in the raw materials department of Leach & Garner in North Attleboro, making parts used to design 14-karat gold settings for jewelry.

Coworker Terri Fraatz called them the "mill boys" because they shared silly rituals such as "the banging of the pipes." That's when they would pretend that the building's pipes were musical instruments and bang out a beat.

"I only knew Richard for 2 1/2 years. He was a quiet guy when we first met; however, over the years, we ended up debating everything under the sun," said coworker David Provencher in one of the many tributes employees have written. "It shows a lot about Dick that a fun family outing was going to Great Woods for an all-day Oz festival."

That's Oz as in Ozzy Osbourne, the heavy-metal singer and, more recently, MTV reality-show dad. Unlike some dads, Richard gladly listened to the music.

"He liked it all," his wife, Catherine, said of hard-rock music.

Catherine says Tolkien's world of hobbits and wizards battling great evil had captured her husband's interest for years. He enjoyed the recent movie adaptations and had tattoos on his back of all the major characters from the trilogy.

Mostly, though, his wife remembers a family man who doted on their children, Richard A. Cabral III and Christine R. Cabral.

"Very caring," she says, noting that the family never lacked for anything.

Richard and Catherine would have celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary in June.

-- Michael P. McKinney, Providence Journal staff writer

Published in The Providence Journal on Mar. 20, 2003
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