Richard Anthony (Dick) DiMaria, 89, passed away suddenly after a short illness at St. Mary’s Hospital on April 9, 2020. He was the husband of the late Jeanne Kingston DiMaria.
Because of these challenging times of social distancing and postponement of community grieving, latitude was taken and some levity used with this notice to colorfully describe a man who through the years came in contact with and was known by many.
Dick was born in Thomaston on December 18, 1930 to Pasquale and Angeline (Ruggiero) DiMaria. Though he resided in Harwinton the past 33 years, Dick considered Thomaston his hometown where he grew up, enjoyed life-long friendships and devoted much time and energy throughout all his years.
While attending local schools, Dick worked at his father’s luncheonette, Patsy’s Soda Shoppe. He lettered in soccer and baseball at Thomaston High School and graduated as Senior Class President in 1948. He then followed his older brother Pat to Purdue University, graduating from the College of Pharmacy in 1953. During his college studies, Dick was a legacy brother of the Catholic Fraternity Phi Kappa Theta where he cultivated many friendships and maintained them over the years. As military studies were required at this university, Dick signed on for additional years with the Army ROTC where he completed two years active duty in Germany with the transportation corps. While there in Germany, he met and fell in love with Jeanne, a school teacher, who taught service members’ children. Upon completing their service and returning to the states in 1955, they married in September and settled in Thomaston.
Dick began his pharmacy career working at Lemmon’s Pharmacy in Thomaston and eventually partnered with his brother Pat as an owner of The Post Office Drug Store in Watertown where he practiced for nearly 40 years. Over these years, he mentored young would-be professionals, including pharmacists, purchasing or operating area pharmacies, notably, St Francis Pharmacy, Medical Arts Pharmacy, Towne Pharmacy in Thomaston and Health Complex Pharmacy and Medical Supply. The Watertown neighborhood pharmacy, with soda fountain and all, catered to that era of pharmacy business. With a business dealing, Dick acquired, as he would say, “the best Front Store Man” in the business Art LeMay adding “anyone would ‘walk a mile in his shoes’!”
During his professional years, Dick was a charter member of the Watertown Rotary Club, was its President in 1977, a Paul Harris Fellow and was honored in 2019 for his distinguished 60 years of active service. He was active as a volunteer at Watertown High School with DECA – the Distributive Education Clubs of America.
Dick and along with his wife, Jeanne, were active in a number social circles including the “Maine Group” who got together regularly and would travel for the bi-annual gatherings at the McQuarrie Maine cabin and enjoy lobster dinners and song. Dick was a member of the Stag Club and would sing an old song in the Minstrel Show at the Thomaston Opera House; the Italian-American Club on Skunk Hill; a 40-year member of the Oakville chapter of the UNICO club where he always looked forward helping with their annual Clam Bake picnic. He also was a board member of Friends of the Thomaston Opera House, helping to raise money for the restoration of this historic building.
Having been baptized a Roman Catholic at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, Dick was a lifelong communicant and supporter of this parish, and his children attended its school. For spiritual renewal, he would attend Cursillo, the Catholic retreat.
In retirement years, Dick and Jeanne traveled widely with friends: European ski trips; a motor home tour across America; two excursions with Global Volunteers – the Cook Islands and Italy; and closer to home for many weekends on the trimaran Ebb Tide docked in Westbrook. For many winter seasons, Dick and Jeanne were snow birds flying south to Madeira Beach, FL.
As much as Dick enjoyed his work at the drug store, he loved his time with all his friends and family. He would brush-up on his Italian in preparation for family trips to their favorite destination. As a fan of college football and basketball, he shared enthusiasm for the local Huskies and his alma mater the Boilermakers, while for pro sports, the NY Yankees was his team. Whether Dick would say he had any hobbies or not, there were activities he did often and enjoyed: playing the piano – stride style; some experimental cooking carry-on Italian peasant dishes he learned from his mother and his Aunt Lizzie and spending time outdoors doing yard work around his lakefront property. Through the years, he also enjoyed sharpening his wits watching his favorite game shows, Name That Tune and Jeopardy! Lately, he got together with friends for morning breakfasts at Patti’s Place and the Eagle’s Nest and afternoon coffee with a steady friend, Stan Hurlburt. In the last year, Dick and his frat brother, Dan Clemens, took a two week road trip through Florida visiting fellow brothers who retired to the Sunshine State.
Dick is survived by his four children, Kathy and her husband Derek of Manchester, VT, Rick and his partner Griselda of Rockwall, TX, Michael and his partner Tony of New York City, and Stephen of Avon, CT; his only grandchild Caroline and her beau Dan of Manchester, VT; his brother’s wife Carol “Gay” and their sons Paul, Mark, Peter and John all of whom shared many holiday celebrations; his cousin Dorothy; his godson Dean Stephens; Jeanne’s nieces Mary Helen, Patty, Alisa, and Katey along with their mother Dana and several other cousins.
He was predeceased by Jeanne, his wife of 61 years; his brother Pat; and one of his closest lifelong friends, Bob “Mac” McQuarrie.
Services to be announced and will be held at a later date. To send notes of sympathy and comfort to Dick’s family please visit his tribute page at www.lyonsfuneralhome.com
Watertown Rotary Club
P.O. Box 88, Watertown CT 06795
Friends of the Thomaston Opera House
P.O. Box 455, Thomaston CT 06787