Richie was born in Worcester, one of three children of the late William B. and Florence E. (Valentine) Kowaleski. Raised in the Burncoat neighborhood of Worcester, he graduated from Burncoat High School and furthered his education, earning his associates degree from Fischer College. In 1975, Richie’s world was blessed when he married the “Love of his life” Judith “Judie” LaHair. They moved to Shrewsbury in 1996.
Richie worked for the Astra Pharmaceutical Company in Westborough, for 42 years where is he was a Supervising Manager for the Sterile Production Area before retiring in 2010. Richie then worked part-time for the Tri-State Trucking Company as a route driver. He loved both positions and his co-workers and they loved him.
Richie is survived by his love and best friend, Judie; his cherished son, Rick Kowaleski and daughter-in-law Jessica of Auburn; a sister, Kathleen and her husband Dennis D’Eramo of Worcester; and several nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends. His brother, William Kowaleski, predeceased him.
Richie was a member of St Peter’s Church. He loved watching sports, especially the New England Patriots and New England Sports teams, and the occasional trip to Mohegan Sun. Judie, Rick and Jessica always came first in his life no matter what. During Rick’s young life, Richie worked nights and would routinely take his lunch hour to attend Rick’s sports games. He was a devoted husband and father who enjoyed the simple pleasures of life; spending time with family and friends, family dinners, holidays and being with Judie. His passing leaves a hole in their hearts but his loving and caring soul will never be forgotten.
Friends and relatives are invited to calling hours Sunday, Aug. 20, from 3-6 p.m., in the MERCADANTE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL, 370 Plantation St., Worcester. His funeral will be held Monday, Aug. 21 from the funeral home with a procession departing at 9:30 a.m. to St. Peter’s Church, 929 Main St., where his funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Richie’s name can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105. www.stjude.org.
The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the doctors, nurses and staff of the Lakeside Unit 3 ICU of the UMass Memorial Hospital for the exceptional care and comfort they provided the family during a difficult time.