Joseph Marfuggi
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Joseph Marfuggi, the former longtime CEO of Riverfront Recapture Inc., died this week at the age of 77 after a long and courageous battle with a series of illnesses. For nearly 30 years, Joe was the driving force behind the redevelopment and creation of a nationally recognized network of public parks along the Connecticut River that attracted millions of visitors and much acclaim during his tenure, not only from the Capitol region, but from across the country. Joe was particularly proud of the cultural and sporting events held on the river and in the parks that brought together the diverse communities of Connecticut in an environment of natural beauty. Joe's varied career and his personal life focused on public service with a particular commitment to the City of Hartford and the surrounding region. After receiving a master's degree in journalism from Stanford University, Joe began his career as a suburban bureau chief for the Hartford Times. He then joined Xerox Education Publications as a writer and editor of current events for school use, earning two All-American Express Awards for feature writing. He was later part of the development team at the University of Connecticut Health Center. By the mid 1970's, Joe was Director of the "Back to the City" program for the Connecticut Housing Investment Fund, where he created the successful "At Home in Hartford" house tours, exposing thousands to the city's living options. In the late 1970's, Joe served as Program Development Director at the City Institute of the University of Hartford, where he created programs that increased awareness about uniquely urban issues and regionalism. During those years he also was a part-time instructor at Greater Hartford Community College, teaching courses in state and local government and contemporary social issues. Later, and before joining Riverfront Recapture, Joe served as District Director for then-Congressman Toby Moffett, as well as the Communications Director for Moffett's political campaigns. Joe was especially proud of his Honorary Degrees from the University of Hartford and Goodwin College. Those who knew Joe will remember him as an avid Yankees and UConn Huskies basketball fan. Joe was born in Proctor, Vermont to the late Joseph and late Mary Marfuggi. He is survived and will be sorely missed by his wife Sherry Brown-Marfuggi; his sister and brother-in-law Louise and Joe Coates of Vermont; his niece and her husband, Mary Lou and Jim Dahmer of Florida; his nephew and his wife; David and Jennifer Coates of Virginia; and his nephew and his wife Paul and Rhonda Coates of Vermont. His beloved extended family included Sherry's daughter Barbara Hennessy and her husband Matt as well as her son Matt Weady and his wife Lois. All are encouraged to join a celebration of Joe's life on Sunday, October 28th at 2:00 p.m. in the Belding Theatre at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Riverfront Recapture or to another worthy charity of your choice.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Hartford Courant on Oct. 14, 2018.
Celebration of Life
02:00 PM
Belding Theatre at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
Memories & Condolences
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19 entries
November 18, 2019
So sorry to hear of Joe's passing.He joined the board of directors of Asylum Hill Inc. in 1972.Joe became a key member of the Board quickly.He lived in the Asylum hill area at the time.I believe that experince helped to set him on the path he chose.
He was very special.
Bob Robotham
October 29, 2018
I am so sorry to read about your loss deaar friends. Knowing how this will affect your family and friends. I hope the promise at Psalms 9:9,10 comforts your heart.--
October 28, 2018
Joe was my Freshman roommate when we entered Pharmacy School together at UConn in 1959. Last year when looking online, I read the articles about his retirement and very successful career. This year, I read about his illness and his marriage. While I always wanted to contact him, I never did. Today, I learned of his death and his Memorial Service. I will never forget our early days at UConn. May he rest in peace.
Richard E. Rumrill
October 27, 2018
As a member of Riverfront Recapture's Board and Executive Committee for 10 years, I had the privilege of working closely with Joe. To complement his incredibly strong , almost dogged vision for Riverfront and Hartford, he brought his humor and humility among other things to his role. He left some big footprints in the sand. He will be missed as an accessible and fine gentleman and a leader who got things done. Joe made Hartford a better city .
James Vineburgh
October 27, 2018
I had the honor and pleasure of knowing Joe for many years. He was always friendly, courteous, compassionate, and kind. And what a contribution of talent and achievement he made to the community! A true gentleman and wonderful human being who will be greatly missed.
Jack Reid
October 26, 2018
Dear Sherry--

The story of your relationship with Joe was unique, heartwarming, and inspirational--the "boulder" and the "rock...."

I hope the memories of the many and varied good times will comfort and sustain you.

In Sympathy,
October 19, 2018
A genleman whose vision for Hartford and Connecticut shone light on our better angel.
We should remember Joe by keeping the light on. I'm proud Joe was a friend.
Thomas Higgins
October 19, 2018
thomas higgins
October 17, 2018
October 15, 2018
Agnes and Alton Williams
Alton Williams
October 15, 2018
I will always be grateful to Joe for being with our family in our time of need. I will also remember him as a kind man with a great sense of humor and a big heart. I will miss him.
Jerry Brown
October 15, 2018
It was always good to see Joe about town , usually downtown or at the First & Last Tavern / Bakery . A gentleman indeed . Open , gracious and uplifting . Rest in peace dear Joe . Well done kind Sir .
your friends
October 15, 2018
I first met Mr. Marfuggi (he always insisted that I call him "Joe"), in 1994 when I began working with Riverfront Recapture. What a great guy he was !! truly the heart and soul of that organization. always a gentleman with a smile and a friendly word. he is greatly missed !

October 15, 2018
please accept my sympathy on Joes passing .He will be well remembered as one of Hartfords truly good guys..May he rest in peace
Bernie Sullivan
October 15, 2018
To The Marfuggi Family,

It was such a pleasure to have know Joe and worked with him in the Clay/Arsenal Neighborhood. Joe enjoyed seeing the kids in the SAND/Bellevue Drill Team perform and was instrumental in adding the drum corp. to the group.

Unfortunately Joe, we never got to add the Fife section, but I'm sure there was a Band playing as you entered GODs gate.

Thank you Marfuggi Family for sharing this great man with the rest of the world.
Shirley Amos-Cooper
October 15, 2018
Very sad news, a puller of all the parties together, devote UConn fan and lover of the City and Riverfront project. Was a sad day for Riverfront when you left and now is a much sadder day for the world. Rest in Peace


Mary and Gary
Gary Dumas
October 14, 2018
Without a doubt, Joe was one of Hartford's greatest and most effective cheerleaders. Professionally, Joe was a reporter's dream to work with and personally, an attentive and caring friend. Sherry, I know too well what you are feeling and can only say hang on tight to those memories and just keep swimming. You two had one of the most endearing romantic rides I ever witnessed. And it was so much fun to watch. He will be so missed. xo
MaryEllen Fillo
October 14, 2018
My deepest sympathy to Joe's family. Joe's visions for Riverfront Recapture will live on. We are so grateful for what he has done for Hartford. His was an extraordinary life.
Karen Renzulli Lynch
October 14, 2018
Had the pleasure of working with Joe at the Riverfront! Working with our youth in Hartford's North End introducing them to things that was exciting and new! Thanks Joe! You will be missed!
Jackie Bethea
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