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West Hartford, CT 06119
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Lewis B. Rome

1933 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Lewis B. Rome Obituary

Lewis B. Rome, attorney, former mayor of Bloomfield, state senate leader, gubernatorial candidate, and chairman of the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees died July 1 at the age of 81, after a long illness. Rome's wife Kristine (Payne) Rome predeceased him in 2011. He is survived by his brother, Nathan Rome, better known as Scott (and sister-in-law Judith), of Bloomfield; and by sisters-in-law Helga Rome of Bloomfield and Nancy Rome of Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Kris's family, Annie, Heidi, Lloyd, and Cousin George. He is also survived by his former wife, Ann Nicolle Rome, of Bloomfield, and their four children; David (and wife, Stacy) of West Hartford; Deborah Szabo (and husband, Ronald) of West Hartford; Richard (and wife, Joanne) of Potomac, Maryland; Thomas of New York and Hartford, daughters-in-law, Florence Rome and Sadani Rome; and his step-daughter, Meghan (and husband, Chad) Hill of Osterville, Massachusetts. He was predeceased by his siblings; Shirley, George, Merrill, Leonard, Janice (Shayni), and Ilene, and by a granddaughter, Samantha. A generous family man with a lifelong penchant for wit and humor, Rome is also survived by 13 grandchildren and an extended family too numerous to list, but who have all known him closely and grown up with his encouragement and teasing. He will always be "Pop" to grandchildren Daniel, Carrie, Mohamed, Rachel, Channell, Edgar, Karim, John, Sam, Max, Isabelle,Colt and Haven. Rome touched, loved and cherished many other friends and family, such as so many colleagues at Rome McGuigan, P.C., including his goddaughter, Meghan Sweeney, and at earlier legal partnerships and at the government relations firm he founded and built with other former legislators, now Rome, Smith and Lutz. Born September 12, 1933 in Hartford, the seventh of eight children of Albert and Celia (Sabol) Rome, he attended Brackett Northeast School in Hartford and later Blue Hills School in Bloomfield and Bloomfield High School, graduating in the Class of 1950. He earned his B.A. from UConn in 1954 and his L.L.B. in 1957. Rome's leadership as Bloomfield's mayor in the turbulent environment of 1965-1969 anchored that community's achievements as a model for racial harmony. The town was honored as an All-America City in 1970. As Bloomfield's mayor he was also instrumental in the development of the Capital Region Council of Governments, an organization started around his dining room table. Elected to the State Senate in 1970, he was elected Senate Majority Leader by his peers in only his second term. He went on to serve as the Senate Minority Leader and in increasing executive leadership roles nationally with the National Conference of State Legislatures. Though he fell shy of winning the governorship in 1982 as the Republican candidate, Rome's spirited campaign against Democratic incumbent William A. O'Neill earned him the editorial endorsement of 59 of Connecticut's top 65 newspapers and the New York Times. After his gubernatorial race, Rome applied his energies with no less fervor to other public causes and to two other great passions of his later career, the University of Connecticut and the Mohegan Tribe. As a legislator, Rome had spearheaded the founding of UConn's medical school and later served on UConn's Task Force on Athletics. He was appointed by Governor Lowell Weicker to the UConn Board of Trustees where he served as Chairman from 1992-1997. Alongside unprecedented physical growth during Rome's tenure as Chairman, the university posted unassailable gains as a research institution, in the arts, as a national basketball power in both the men's and women's game (to say nothing of the leaps forward in other UConn athletic programs), and, increasingly, it became a first choice for undergraduate study of more and more of the state's most talented homegrown scholars, thanks in part to the Nutmeg Scholarship program that was Rome's brainchild. The family would like to thank his wonderful caregivers at Transitions, LLC and also thank neighbor and close friend Ross Hollander and the many friends who also became friends of Lew's dog Lola. The family will be holding a private burial service on Sunday, July 5 and a public memorial celebration of Lew Rome's life on Thursday, August 20 at 2 p.m. at the Lewis B. Rome Commons Ballroom at UConn in Storrs. Shiva will be observed at 16 High Hill Road in Bloomfield on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings. The Hebrew Funeral Association of West Hartford has charge of arrangements: (860) 888-6919 ([email protected]). The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations may be made to the "Samantha Rome Nutmeg Scholarship Fund" at the University of Connecticut, c/o UConn Foundation, 2390 Alumni Drive Unit 3206, Storrs, CT, 06329 (http://www.foundation.uconn.edu/).

Published in The Hartford Courant on July 4, 2015
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