Raymond S. DeLeo, 89, of Bristol, RI died on February 5, 2013 at Rhode Island Hospital after a brief illness. He was the beloved husband of Ann (Santulli) DeLeo and loving father of four children and the proud grandfather of six.
He was a lifelong resident of Bristol. He was a son of the late Antonio and Columba (Riccardi) DeLeo, and graduated from Colt Memorial High School in 1941 where he was a standout football player on its state championship team and an inductee into the Bristol Athletic Hall of Fame. He attended Wesleyan University, Princeton University, and Trinity College. He served in the U.S. Navy V-5 and V-12 programs during World War II and last served in the Aleutian Islands.
He was president and founder of Federal Properties of R.I. and Raymond Construction Co. among various other business interests focused on historic rehabilitation and commercial and residential development in New England and Florida. He was a founding member and long-time chairman of the Association of United States Postal Lessors. Throughout his career, he had an abiding interest in smart growth principles in community planning, open space preservation and waterfront public access and was an outspoken advocate of good government. A 1967 Providence Journal profile described him as “a self-made man who speaks the lofty idealism of a college freshman, but does it with the hardened conviction of a summa *** laude graduate of the School of Hard Knocks.” He was active in politics serving as local party chairman and as an executive committee member of the RI Republican State Central Committee for many years. He worked in leadership capacities on a number of local, state and presidential campaigns including state chair of the Nelson Rockefeller presidential campaign and served as a delegate to Republican National Conventions in Chicago, San Francisco and Miami.
He was made an honorary lifetime member of the Bristol Historical Society for his efforts in preserving many of the salient architectural features of the Wardwell-Bosworth House, designed by noted architect Russell Warren, in the construction of the current Bristol post office. He assigned his interest in the Old Post Office and Customs House to accommodate the significant expansion of the YMCA in Bristol. Also in town, he secured an option from the Colt family, making possible the preservation of Linden Place and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the establishment of the Benjamin Church Manor elderly housing complex, and more recently fought to preserve Colt and Andrews schools from threatened closure. He was involved in many charitable, fraternal and civic organizations throughout his life.
Always an informed student as much as a teacher, he was a loving, loyal, generous, and principled man who cared deeply about his family, his friends and his town. He enjoyed his work, the water, his grandchildren’s games, his blueberries, the Fourth of July, and was an avid 40-year Patriots season ticket holder. An exacting man, he expected everyone’s best effort but no more so than of himself.
In addition to his wife of 68 years, he is survived by his children, Pamela D. Delaney of Bristol, Susan N. DeLeo of Wakefield, Raymond S. DeLeo of Bristol, and Stephen A. DeLeo of Middletown, grandchildren J. Cruz Goler, Carroll J. Delaney, III, Raymond S. DeLeo, Amanda J. DeLeo, and Isabella B. DeLeo and Stephen N. DeLeo, and a sister, Clara Alessandro of Bristol. He was predeceased by two sisters, Margaret and Palma and his three brothers, Raffaele, Vincent and Herbert.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 141 State Street, Bristol. Burial will be private and visiting hours are respectfully omitted. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Bristol Land Conservation Trust, PO Box 413, Bristol, RI 02809 or the Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, PO Box 356 Bristol, RI 02809. For online condolences, shared memories, information and directions please go to www.sansonefuneralhome.com.