By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Southborough – Guests attending the Oct. 11 meeting of the Breakfast Club at the Southborough Senior Center learned more about that morning's guest speaker, John Del Rios. Some already knew he volunteered to design, build, and maintain the center's website. But many were unaware that he's also an experienced stone and wood sculptor.
With a background in chemistry, Del Rios worked in various capacities at the Waters Corporation in Milford for 37 years. He periodically moved to different departments and gained new experience along the way. Among his responsibilities were laboratory work, marketing, multimedia communication, and instruction of the company's products.
“I's mostly right-brained and have some left brain working for me,” Del Rios said. “The first time I sat in front of a computer in the early-“90s, I wasn's intimated; I was awestruck. I never got intrigued enough to want to learn how to do hardcore computer programing. Being right-brained, I's more visual.”
Seeing computer-generated art motivated Del Rios to teach himself how to do animation and three-dimensional modeling. During his last 15 years at that company, he ran the design department and built its website. His co-workers asked why he didn's open his own business.
“I would say to them that I have two kids in college and this is steady work,” he relayed.
Also during those years, he frequently visited the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln. Viewing other artists” work, he developed an interest in sculpting. Then he took several courses at DeCordova and the Worcester Museum of Art.
Del Rios sculpts mostly with wood, soapstone and alabaster. He has purchased some stone at Boston-based stores, but more often orders it online. He noted that the cost for shipping is usually about the same amount as the stone.
Before retiring from the Waters Corporation in 2006, he did start his own company, RioDesign Ltd. Del Rios designs and builds websites for small, local businesses within an affordable budget. His portfolio includes websites for the Southborough Police Department and St. Matthew Parish.
Three years ago, Del Rios noticed that the only online presence for the Southborough Senior Center was a page with contact information posted on the town's website. He offered to design and build a website for the center free of charge. He still volunteers his time to maintain the website with information provided by Peg Leonard, the center's program coordinator.
“John is invaluable to me,” Leonard said. “A lot of my job is getting exposure out there for our events. We didn's have anything online before this website, so it's a huge help for us. And this is all volunteer service for him. I believe the website is targeting younger seniors to come to our programs as well.”
Del Rios was also happy to volunteer as the Breakfast Club's guest speaker.
“I's quite comfortable presenting and sharing what I'se learned with other people,” he said. “In a past life, I's sure I must have been a teacher or a woodworker.” With a laugh, he added, “Or maybe I had a stone chisel and worked on a pyramid!”
The Breakfast Club with a guest speaker meets the second Friday of each month at 10 a.m., excluding July and August. The next meeting is Nov. 8 featuring Pam Landry, education coordinator of MassWildlife in West Boylston. Suggested donation is $6 for members of the Friends of the Southborough Senior Center; $10 for non-members. A required reservation can be made by calling 508-229-4453
For information about the center's activities, visit the website, which was designed and built, and is still maintained by Del Rios: southboroughseniors.com.