East Providence officials remember ‘Spunk’ Pimentel

School Committee member Richard "Spunk" Pimentel passed away Friday, Aug. 1. School Committee member Richard "Spunk" Pimentel passed away Friday, Aug. 1.

EAST PROVIDENCE — Residents of the city and members of the School Committee joined family and friends in mourning the passing of Richard A. Pimentel, a school board representative for the last 21 months until his death on Friday, Aug. 1.

Mr. Pimentel, a long-time employee of the school system, a Dover Avenue resident and known to most by his nickname “Spunk,” succumbed to cancer at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center. He was 73.

“‘Spunk’ was one of the few people you could really count on,” said City Councilor Tommy Rose, who represented Mr. Pimentel in Ward 3 and was a personal friend of the deceased. “He had ‘Townie Pride’ to the nth-degree. I can’t say enough about him. He really cared about the city and its children. He often stated it was about the children, and from his years on the School Committee you could see through his actions it really was about the kids.”

Mr. Pimentel was a Custodian Supervisor for the East Providence School Department before retiring. Besides being a member of the School Committee, he also served on Democratic City Committee. An avid golfer, Mr. Pimentel was a member of the Silver Spring Golf Course.

“What can I say about him?” said School Committee Chairman Joel Monteiro. “‘Spunk’ was a guy who stepped up when no one else would. He was retired, enjoying himself, playing golf, but the community reached out to him and asked him to step up, and he did. I have a special place in my heart for people who step up when they have to, and ‘Spunk’ was one of them.”

Mr. Pimentel ran unopposed for the Ward 3 School Committee seat in the fall of 2012. He served with honor even after receiving his diagnosis late last year and through treatments during most of 2014.

“‘Spunk wasn’t just interested in filling the seat. He was involved as he could be and then some,” Mr. Monteiro added. “I have a lot of respect for him and what he did while he was on the committee. He went above and beyond. He made things a lot more fun than they probably would have been. He definitely added to the mix. He loved this city. We’re going to miss him.”

Per City Charter, in an instance of death or resignation while the School Committee is in term, the City Council representative from the ward in which either occurs is tasked with submitting a replacement for consideration. The name of Nathan Cahoon, also running unopposed for the Ward 3 School Committee seat this fall and who was endorsed by Mr. Pimentel prior to his passing, is likely to be put up by Mr. Rose. He said he would probably do so by the August 19 Council meeting.

“Unfortunately, we do have to think about these things at this time,” Mr. Rose said. “I’ve already checked with the law department to see what the next step is. No one is sure when the last time this has happened. Because he is running unopposed, it makes sense. Nate Cahoon is going to be the name I bring forward.”

While acknowledging the practical nature of likely needing to have a full compliment of committee members, Mr. Monteiro said in a perfect setting he would like to see the seat remain vacant as a memorial to his lost comrade.

“Speaking from purely a sentimental standpoint, I think it would be nice not to replace ‘Spunk.’ It was his goal to finish off his term, but unfortunately that didn’t happen,” Mr. Monteiro added. The Chairman said the School Committee will conduct a tasteful memorial for Mr. Pimentel at its August 12 meeting in City Hall.

Mr. Pimentel was the husband of Linda A. (Berthiaume) Pimentel. Born in Providence he was a son of the late Anthony and Nellie (Bridko) Pimentel. Besides his wife he leaves one daughter, Stephanie Donovan and her husband Patrick of North Carolina; two sons, Michael Pimentel of Dighton, Mass., and Scott Pimentel of New York; three grandchildren, Wyntre Pimentel, Owen, and Molly Donovan; and three sisters, Lorraine Barone and her husband John, Joyce Ferreira and her husband Dennis and Paula Pimentel. He was the grandfather of the late Ellie Donovan.

His funeral was held Monday, Aug. 4, from the Perry-McStay Funeral Home, 2555 Pawtucket Ave., East Providence. Burial followed in in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers contributions to Friends of Townie Athletics P.O. Box 16521, Rumford, R.I., 02916 or Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, 1085 North Main St., Providence, R.I., 02904-9826.

“Not having ‘Spunk’ around anymore is going to be a great loss, a huge loss to East Providence, especially because of the spirit and commitment he had to the city,” Mr. Rose concluded.

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