Colin McFadden
1995 - 2021
Funk Funeral Home
35 Bellevue Avenue
Bristol, CT
Colin McFadden
August 12, 2021
Colin James McFadden, born July 20, 1995, died at John Dempsey Hospital on August 12, 2021. He collapsed at the scene of large building fire, serving alongside his fellow Burlington firefighters and 28 other fire departments. Paramedics rushed him to John Dempsey where doctors identified and operated on a brain hemorrhage caused by undiagnosed acute promyelocytic leukemia. The brain hemorrhage caused Colin's collapse at the fire. Despite the valiant efforts of his medical team, Colin did not recover. Colin was born in Bristol and was a resident his entire life. He was the son of Shawn E. and Lee Riccio McFadden and brother of Matt and Brendan. Colin's early years were full of a sense of humor and joy at making others laugh. From the time he began speaking, Colin's powers of observation and interest in lights and sirens were keen. He could hear approaching emergency sirens long before anyone else. He loved pointing out railroad crossings, fire alarms, and emergency vehicles. In kindergarten Colin began struggling in school. At the age of seven, he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a type of autism spectrum disorder. His family worked hard to find Colin the right supports and environment to help him grow. Over time, a group of caring professionals influenced Colin and his future. One of his most important supports was his assistance dog, Stitch, who appeared with Colin on the Jane Pauley Show, a national talk show, in 2003. In fifth grade, Colin began attending the Gengras Center school in West Hartford. Colin played on soccer and floor hockey teams, made many friends, and found a special mentor in teacher Todd Girard. Colin developed confidence in himself, learned he had many strengths, and that Asperger's Syndrome did not define him. While at Gengras, Colin worked for Habitat for Humanity both in construction and at the ReStore. It was at Gengras that Colin bloomed and began his path to becoming an adult who contributed so much to his community. Colin participated in programs at the FOCUS Center for Autism. As a teenager, Colin spoke on panels about autism. He and his peers told large groups about their own experiences, to help parents, teachers, family members, and the community understand autism. Colin was a member of Boy Scout Troop 6 and attained the rank of Eagle Scout on June 29, 2013. His first merit badge was Horsemanship, which he earned at Shepard Meadows Riding Center. He gave back to Shepard Meadows by building a bridge for horses and riders as his Eagle project. His scouting merit badge work included First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Radio, Emergency Preparedness, and Fire Safety. Each of these reflected the interests that were taking hold in Colin's life. Colin spent springs, summers, and falls working at Lake Compounce where he made friends and had fun. After leaving Gengras, Colin attended Bristol Technical Education Center and graduated from the electronics program. He then pursued a career combining his interest in electronics with his focus on safety. He worked supporting fire detection and alarm systems and began a new position the day prior to collapsing at the fire. In April 2015, at age 19, Colin began advocating as an adult, for both himself and others. On Autism Awareness Day, Colin spoke to legislators and media at the state capitol, impressing all with his accomplishments and poise. He talked about the people and the programs that helped him, so that others would learn how beneficial they are. He shared his accomplishments including becoming a volunteer fire fighter. Building on his interest in electronics, and public safety, Colin became an amateur radio operator. He joined the Insurance City Repeater Club (ICRC), earned his license, and was given the call sign KB1-YYG. He participated in many community functions including providing communication at Boy Scouts outdoor events. He was vice president of ICRC. Colin was also a member of the Bristol Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Several years prior, as a boy scout, during a bad winter storm and a power outage, Colin volunteered at an emergency shelter run by CERT. As an adult, he joined CERT, to serve Bristol and prepare for emergencies. During 2020 and 2021, Colin spent many days providing traffic control for Bristol Covid testing sites and the Farm to Families food distribution. His truck, with its ham radio antennae and many yellow lights mounted above the cab, could be found at community events including the annual Shamrock Run. During the early days of the pandemic Colin's two 3-D printers ran day and night making N95 masks for the staff of UCONN Medical Center. Colin joined the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) in 2015. While Colin lived in Bristol, he was close enough to BVFD Station 2 to join the department. He completed State of Connecticut Fire 1 and Fire 2 training courses, along with many supplemental classes. Colin fought structure fires and brush fires and responded to many accidents and other calls. He loved responding "hot", with full lights and sirens. While serving as a firefighter, he became an EMT and served on the BVFD Ambulance staff. He responded to non-critical calls as well as cases requiring lifesaving care. His service in the BVFD meant the world to Colin. Colin was a member of the Connecticut Society Sons of the American Revolution. Besides his parents, Colin leaves his brothers, Matthew and Brendan, his maternal grandparents, Donald and Joanne Riccio, his sister-in-law, Vanessa McFadden, his nephew Robert and his niece Cassidy. Colin's girlfriend, whom he loved dearly, already misses him terribly. He also leaves numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and his step grandfather. He was predeceased by his paternal grandparents, Mary and Leo McFadden and by his assistance dog, Stitch. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday (August 19, 2021) at 11 AM at St. Matthew Church, 120 Church Ave. Bristol. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery, Bristol. Calling hours will be held on Wednesday (August 18, 2021) between 3 and 8 PM at Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol. In lieu of flowers, please donate to any one of the organizations listed at Colin's tribute page at
Published by Register Citizen on Aug. 15, 2021.
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Calling hours
3:00p.m. - 8:00p.m.
Funk Funeral Home
35 Bellevue Avenue, Bristol, CT
St. Joseph Cemetery
Bristol, CT
Mass of Christian Burial
St. Matthew Church
120 Church Ave., Bristol, CT
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17 Entries
Colin must have truly been a remarkable young man. He certainly will be missed by many. Rest In Peace, Brother.
Bill Lewis Drum Sgt. Ct Firefighters Pipes and Drums
August 20, 2021
I have never met firefighter McFadden, but I am a person with autism and when I heard about that, I knew that I wanted to share my condolences with the family and friends and the firefighters with the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department. I am so sorry for your loss and my thoughts and prayers are with everyone who knew him!
Mike DiMauro
August 19, 2021
My Deepest Condolences to the McFadden family and the BVFD family RIP Brother you will be missed by all who knew you
Chuck Smith
August 19, 2021
I never got to meet Colin. He found his greater purpose and served his community without hesitation... his story, his life, and his legacy will not be forgotten. RIP
Geo Beeson
August 19, 2021
I didn´t know Colin but after reading his achievements & hearing his story , my heart goes out to his family and all that knew him. He definitely left his mark in the world and was an example for many. Rest In Peace Colin.
Tammy DeFilippo
August 19, 2021
To Colin's Family: WOW! What a BRAVE and INSPIRATIONAL young man!! He has done more than people twice his age! Sending our deepest condolences to your family! When the coming days become challenging, remember all of the good times you had with Colin, his laughter and his smile. Trust in God for comfort and strength and know that "Weeping may endureth for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Colin: Fly with the Angels.
Ms. T.
August 18, 2021
What a beautiful remembrance. It´s evident just how much Colin lived while he was here. That is the true measure of a life well-lived, although cut far too soon. My heart goes out to the family- we have our flag at half-staff here in Manchester in honor of your son. May you find the strength to get through these hard days.... And may his memory be a happy one. My deepest sympathy on the loss of your son and brother- Brenda Bertolini
Brenda Bertolini
August 17, 2021
What a beautiful obituary of a beautiful young man. I didn't know Colin, but my heart breaks for his family, friends, coworkers, girlfriend, and companion animal. Peace to all off you. You have a long road ahead. My thoughts will be with you, Lisa
August 16, 2021
Thank you for the message we need to get out to the world. Prayers
Joanne Smith
August 16, 2021
Charlotte was a great friend of Colins. She considered him a big brother. Please no we are thinking of you at this difficult time.
The Benson Family
August 16, 2021
I never met Colin, but after reading about him what an incredible young man. Even though he had a disability he never let that get in his way of all his outstanding accomplishments. Not only was he a fire fighter but a fighter for himself and others. Please accept my condolences. God Bless You Colin. Rest In Peace. Your lights will shine brightly in heaven.
August 16, 2021
I didn´t know Colin but from reading this I can tell he was an exemplary young man and doing what he truly loved when tragedy struck. What a terrible loss to the family and community. My heartfelt condolences go out to all who knew him and loved him. May he Rest In Peace.
August 16, 2021
I didn´t know Colin, but after reading this tribute, I wish I´d been lucky enough to meet him. In his brief time here, he contributed so much to his community. His life made a difference and his loss will be deeply felt. Condolences to his loved ones.
August 16, 2021
I loved the late night voice chats where there'd be dead silence and when Colin would join, he'd play the silliest song possible and we'd all have a giggle fit.
Emma Thomsen
August 15, 2021
I didn´t know him. I was so moved by what this young man gave of himself. What a void his presence leaves to all of us.
Patti Youmatz-Failla
August 15, 2021
Colin, although I wasn't very close to him, had a very big impact on me and my friends. He was very smart and creative, and he loved sharing his enthusiasm with everyone. He was the life of the party in our group of friends when we hung out on the internet, playing games like Minecraft. His humor and passion were charming. Just the week before his passing, he had gotten accepted into Johnson Controls as an actual full-time employee. I had asked him about how I should start my own career in the fire alarm industry, and he gave me advice I'll never forget in his honor. Friends of his including myself, Johann Thomsen, Zachary Fleck, and Robert Aslin are all really proud of what he's done for his community and his town. He was a great inspiration to all of us, and it will never be the same without him.
Arie McClanahan
August 15, 2021
Our heartfelt sympathies in this, your time of grief.
Funk Funeral Home
August 16, 2021
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