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Stratford's John Rich, 'Hero To Canines,' Dies At 56

John Edward Rich
John Edward Rich Photo Credit: Provided

John Edward Rich, 56, a hero to canines and their human companions in town, died Friday, Jan. 26 at Bridgeport Hospital.

The cause was complications from diabetes, a disease that he battled for years.

Mr. Rich was born Oct. 15, 1961 in Bridgeport, the son of Carol (Taylor) Rich and the late John B. Rich, Jr. of Stratford. He grew up in Lordship and was a life-long resident of Stratford.

Mr. Rich had a passion for helping people. He was a dedicated boy scout and went on to be an active member of Explorer Post 77, where he spent several years as a first aid counselor at a camp for intellectually and physically disabled children.

He spent 30 years volunteering with the Stratford EMS, where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant and worked as an EMT, paramedic, instructor and mentor to the many that follow in his footsteps. He was a founding member of Stratford EMS Explorer Post 911.

Mr. Rich’s passion spilled over into his professional career where he worked as a respiratory therapist at St. Vincent’s, Bridgeport and Milford Hospitals. He shared his exemplary skills with his students as an Instructor of Respiratory Therapy at Goodwin College.

Mr. Rich loved to cook and cheer on the New England Patriots.

His love for his three dogs fueled his tireless efforts, as the co-chair of the Stratford Dog Park Committee, to bring a dog park to Stratford, now under construction near the entrance to Roosevelt Forest. Just about everyone in Stratford agreed that the town was in need of a dog park — so long as it was in someone else’s neighborhood. Mr. Rich co-wrote a 56-page report detailing the pros and cons of dozens of possible sites for the facility.

In addition to his wife, Rose, and mother, he is survived by his two daughters, Theresa Rich of Stratford and Becky Rich and her wife, Liz Batsford, of Brunswick, Maine; a brother, Michael Rich of Stratford; two sisters, Kathy Kovalik of Stratford and Tricia Rich (Greg Wheeler) of Andover, MA; his father-in-law, Valentino Ciccone of Norwalk; brother-in-law George Ciccone (Lisa) of Fairfield; two sisters-in-laws, Josie Parin of Norwalk and Jenny Ciccone of Trumbull; several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and two godsons-Wesley Ciccone and Hunter Moss.

Services were Tuesday, Jan. 30 at the Lordship Community Church in Stratford.

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