Lombard John Pozzi, age 67, died on July 9 at RI Hospital in Providence after a brief illness.
He was the son of the late Lombard J. and Alice Tavares Pozzi, a lifelong resident of Bristol and lived in the same house “Northfield” on Hope Street since 1949. He attended Bristol schools, graduating from Colt Memorial High School in 1963 and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, with Bachelor of Building Science and Bachelor of Architecture degrees. He worked for Warren architect William O’Rourke for five years before receiving a Masters of Science in Restoration and Preservation from Columbia University.
Lombard began working as an historic preservation architect for the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission in the 1970s before establishing an award-winning private practice. He immediately gained prominence as an architect for both new construction and the rehabilitation of old buildings. Bristol, Warren and places all over Rhode Island appear the way they do today because Lombard helped save and restore many of their neglected buildings. In 1998, the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission presented him with the Frederick C. Williamson Award for Professional Leadership in Historic Preservation. The citation reads in part as follows:
Lombard’s ability to organize complex, long term restoration projects and his acute attention to detail have well served a number of Rhode Island monuments, including East Providence’s Squantum Association Clubhouse, Johnston’s Dame Farm, North Providence’s Old Town Hall, Pawtucket’s Slater Mill, Providence’s First Baptist Meeting House and Roger Williams Park, Warren’s George Haile Free Library and First United Methodist Church, Wickford’s St. Paul’s Church and his native Benjamin Church Home, Burnside Memorial Hall, Linden Place, Mount Hope Farm, The Bristol Statehouse, The Roger Williams University Performing Arts Center and the Rogers Free Library.
Integrating new construction into historic areas, one of architecture’s trickiest dilemmas, suggests parameters – not problems – to Lombard, who draws his encyclopedic knowledge of historic architecture to engage the present with the past. His exemplary Peaberry Block (1987-88) in Bristol (now Le Central Bistro) sets a high standard worthy of emulation.
Lombard served Bristol as “architect-in-residence” for many historic buildings including the Bristol Historical Society, the Benjamin Church Home, Linden Place and Mount Hope Farm.
Moreover, Lombard possessed a kind, gentle, and generous spirit. He would often lend his architectural expertise and penchant for detail, free of charge, to friends and strangers alike. Countless buildings around Rhode Island are the beneficiary of a Lombard John Pozzi sketch or suggestion. He was also fascinated with the integrity of historic materials – especially old house parts that most people discarded or ignored. He collected these for over 45 years. They included an assortment of blinds, balustrades, columns, doors, clocks, windows, slate shingles, bricks, stone slabs. This was his palette for historic preservation.
He was a member of the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.) and many historical and professional societies, and maintained a close association with the Rensselaer Society of Engineers, his college fraternity. He also served as President of East Bay ARC of RI and chaired and served on many boards, committees and commissions in his beloved Town of Bristol. Lombard was the author of numerous articles on local history and architecture, served as Chairman of the celebrated publication, Bristol, Three Hundred Years in 1980 and as a co-author of Fixing Up, an award-winning book funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
He is survived by his sister Jessica, her caregiver Sue Pratt, his friend Lindsay Green, his Tavares and Pozzi cousins, and many good friends.
Donations made in Lombard’s memory may be sent to the Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, Box 356, Bristol RI 02809 or the Lombard John Pozzi Historical Preservation Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation, One Union Station, Providence, RI 02903.
Calling hours are Monday, July 15 at Sansone Funeral Home, 192 Wood Street, Bristol, RI from 4 -7PM. Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, July 16, from the funeral home at 9 AM, with a Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 141 State Street, Bristol, RI at 10 AM, followed by burial at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Chestnut Street. For online condolences, shared memories, information and directions go towww.sansonefuneralhome.com
There will be a Celebration of Lombard’s life at Mount Hope Farm
later in the summer where people are invited to share photographs, memories and funny Lombard stories. Details will follow when they are known.