Known to loved ones as Dick, Daddy, Papa-san, and Pappy, Richard was born on November 12, 1924 in New Jersey. He was the youngest of seven children, three boys and four girls, born to parents Joseph and Rose Pettinato.
Richard attended Villanova and Seton Hall universities, and later earned his Master’s degree from Stevens Institute of Technology. He married his Jersey City high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Helen Marie Elias Cosby, on February 26, 1949. Richard served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and later returned to service during the Korean War, stationed aboard U.S.S. Beatty. He and Helen made their home in Jersey City; Newport, Rhode Island; and in Cambridge, Massachusetts during that tour of duty.
His professional career with the Thomas A. Edison Co., Bell Labs, and Western Electric allowed him to travel all over the United States. He never returned home without a briefcase packed with gifts for his excited children, Gay, Lisa, and Jamie. During his many years in systems management at Western Electric, he notably represented the company in Cape Canaveral for Project Mercury, Project Gemini, and the Apollo I space flights.
Richard’s work took him and his family from New Jersey to a suburb of Chicago and the hilly countryside of Baltimore County, before he and Helen retired to Naples, Florida. There, he enjoyed the heat, the sunshine, the tennis, and many good friends for nearly thirty years. Helen preceded him in death in February, 2009. They had been married, and dancing together, for 60 blessed years.
With a tremendous sense of humor to match his generous heart, Richard was beloved as a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His warmth, smile and witty storytelling delighted his family and friends. His lifelong curiosity made him a wonderful listener as well.
He leaves to cherish his memory three devoted children: daughter Gabrielle Hammitt and her husband Stephen, daughter Lisa Marie LiPira and her husband Mark, and son Richard James Pett and his wife Lori. Also precious grandchildren Christopher LiPira and wife Tiffany, Stephanie LiPira, Derek Hammitt and wife Elizabeth, Alexander LiPira and wife Casey, Richard Jonathan Pett and Nicholas James Pett. The joys of his later life were his great-grandchildren: Isabella, Jackson, Zoey, Emma, Abigail, Layne and Eliana.
Visitation for Richard will be held Tuesday, December 5, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at Schimunek Funeral Home, 9705 Bel Air Rd., Nottingham, MD. A funeral service will follow at 5:00 pm at the same location.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Richard Pett’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association (https://act.alz.org).