Richard (“Dick”) Stravino, died at home in Rotonda West, FL, on Jan. 27 in the arms of his wife and lifelong sweetheart, JoAnne, with his children, Laura and Michael, nearby. He was three weeks shy of his 74th birthday.
Dick (who also answered to Rich or Richie) was born on Feb. 20, 1944, in Jamaica, Queens, the only child of Nicholas and Anne Stravino. He moved with his family as a teen to New Hyde Park and graduated from Delahanty High School (Jamaica, Queens), where he met the love of his life, Josephine Palagonia. Dick and JoAnne married in 1966 and lived briefly in Lynbrook before building a house and their family in Malverne. Despite spending the last 14 years of his life in Florida, Dick was a dyed-in-the-wool, proud New Yorker and Long Islander.
As he and JoAnne married and raised their family, Dick held a wide-range of jobs in business, sales and banking before landing in commercial real estate, a field he enjoyed for many reasons, not the least of which because it allowed him to retire and move to sunny Florida in 2004. His work and home life reflected his extroverted nature, gift of gab, and ability to forge relationships with numerous types of people (except the really uptight ones). Through the years, Dick and JoAnne’s house was always the center of numerous gatherings for friends and family.
He loved being around people, and was at home in front of the barbecue and behind a martini or glass of scotch. Dick spread his love of life during his extensive travels through Europe and the Caribbean, making new friends along the way and enjoying the local cuisine.
Dick was a hands-on dad before it was hip, getting his kids ready for school and being the primary parent at home on days when JoAnne, a nurse, was working early morning and weekend shifts at the hospital. He coached little league baseball and roller hockey teams that Michael played on, and could be found reliably in the auditorium during Laura’s school concerts and plays. Dick had an amazingly green thumb; his side yard vegetable garden on Long Island was a labor of love that yielded an array of produce, from arugula to zucchini. Dick was an ardent sportsman, and many fond memories were made during the hunting trips he took with his buddies over the course of decades. In later years, Dick was more likely to bring his camera than a rifle into the woods, to capture scenes of wildlife and nature. Dick also loved to be out on the water, boating and fishing, and lived his whole life with coastline readily accessible. After moving to Florida, he stayed extremely active with fishing, golfing, bicycling, softball and pickleball until his recent illness.
Dick got no greater pleasure than that from being surrounded by family and friends. In addition to his wife and children, Dick is survived by his daughters-in-law, Lael and Karen, his adored grandchildren, Nicholas, Andrew and Giuliana, and many beloved cousins and friends too many to list. He will be deeply missed but never forgotten.
Dick’s family wishes to thank the caring staff of Florida Cancer Specialists, the Infusion Center of Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Tidewell Hospice.
To honor Dick’s memory, please call a family member and have a real conversation. Texting doesn’t count. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, or Tidewell Hospice, Inc.
A Funeral Mass was held on Thursday, Feb. 1, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Englewood, FL, with Father Richard York officiating.
Englewood Funeral Home with Private Crematory has been selected to handle arrangements. You may share a memory with the family at www.englewoodfh.com.
—Courtesy of Herald Tribune