Richard "Spunky" Pimentel Loses Battle with Cancer
As this article was first written by The Reporter, "Spunky" Pimentel expressed a hope to spend time with his family and fight the cancer he was dealing with. Although optimistic, he was not feeling well and decided to not run for re-election. His health deteriorated and he was admitted to the Hulitar hospice center. As friends and family visited him at Hulitar, Spunky slipped away and died on August 1st. The Reporter sends its condolences to the Pimentel family. (See obituary at end of article):
East Providence Ward 3 School Committee member, Richard "Spunk" Pimentel has announced that he will not be able to seek reelection to his school board seat, due to illness. In a conversation with The Reporter, Pimentel said that his decision was forced by health issues and doctor's orders. "I feel pretty weak now all the time and I won't be able to give 100% of myself to the job (school committee)." Pimentel lives with his wife, Linda, on Dover Avenue in the city’s Kent Heights section. He has been recently dealing with illness but thought he could stay active on the committee. "I wanted to give it a good effort, but I now know that I just can't do it. I have to give my family and my treatment all my time now," said an upbeat but weakened Pimentel.
Pimentel first ran for the school committee in 2012 and told The Reporter that “My two children are grown and both graduated from East Providence High, one in 1997 and the other in 2000,” he said. “I graduated from East Providence in 1958 and our feelings for this city are strong,” he said at that time.
Although his first name is Richard, the popular former school janitor and small restaurant owner (Homestyle Pizza) is better known by his nickname - "Spunky". The retired janitor had worked as a school custodian for 10 years and told The Reporter that “I started out as a custodian and became a high school supervisor and eventual supervisor of all schools. I know many of the issues. I was once in the union and then later on the management side. The system has changed, it has evolved and we must embrace the change for the good. I fully support the city’s effort to consolidate services and I like the current setup with one maintenance director for both city and schools. It’s working,” said Pimentel.
"I think that I have contributed for the past two years on the school committee and I am confident that things are going in the right direction now. I want to thank everyone for their support and I wish Nathan Cahoon (the other Ward 3 candidate) good luck. He (Cahoon) stopped by my house to wish me well the other day. That was nice," Pimentel added.
"I admire the work that Mr. Pimentel has done on the School Committee, and his dedication to the City of East Providence. Spunky has been a source of invaluable advice for me in the early stages of my campaign. He has offered me his support, and was actually the first to sign my nomination petition. I will continue to seek his guidance in the days to come, and wish him the very best," Cahoon told The Reporter in a statement.
And so Spunky Pimentel and his family now face a courageous health battle ahead and his short political career but long community experience is in the rear view mirror.
Obituary from Perry-McStay:
Richard A. “Spunk” Pimentel, 73 of Dover Avenue passed away Friday August 1, 2014 at the Philip Hulitar Hospice Center. He was the husband of Linda A. (Berthiaume) Pimentel. Born in Providence he was a son of the late Anthony and Nellie (Bridko) Pimentel. Mr. Pimentel was a Custodian Supervisor for the East Providence School Department before retiring. He was a member of the East Providence School Committee and Democratic City Committee. He was a member of the Silver Spring Golf Course. Besides his wife he leaves one daughter, Stephanie Donovan and her husband Patrick of North Carolina, two sons, Michael Pimentel of Dighton, Ma and Scott Pimentel of New York, three grandchildren, Wyntre Pimentel, Owen, and Molly Donovan, 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 will be held on Monday at 11:00 AM in the PERRY-MCSTAY FUNERAL HOME, 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Calling hours Sunday 4-7. In lieu of flowers contributions to Friends of Townie Athletics P.O. Box 16521, Rumford, RI 02916 or Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, 1085 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02904-9826 would be appreciated.