Frank E. Ruccia, 92, mechanical engineer

Frank E. Ruccia, a 34-year resident of Danbury, CT passed away Aug. 9. at Hancock Hall in Danbury after a two-and-half-year illness. He was surrounded by the love of family and friends as he passed. In his 92 years, Frank was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, highly specialized Mechanical Engineer, dedicated volunteer, life-long devoted Catholic, and a caring, loving friend to young and old as he lived a full and accomplished life. He valued family and always maintained a close relationship with his large, extended Italian family, his wives’ families and his many friends.

Frank was born February 9, 1925 in New Haven, CT to Carmela and Nicola. He grew up primarily in Brooklyn, N.Y., but lived about five years in the Hudson Valley area of New York.  He graduated from Haaren High School in New York City in 1943 and shortly after enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving from 1943-1946. Following extensive technical training, he  served as a Navy electronics technician on the destroyer escort,USS Defilho, in the Pacific, with responsibility for maintenance of the radio/radar equipment. After his military service ended, he entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.

He was an engineer’s engineer — meticulous and exacting in everything he did. His career spanned 36 years with Monsanto in Boston and St. Louis, Arthur D. Little (ADL) in Cambridge, MA. and Perkin-Elmer Corp. in Danbury. He specialized in development and implementation of critical thermal protection processes for the aerospace industry. Much of his work during the 1960’s was for NASA experiments on Apollo Missions. He authored and co-authored dozens of technical papers dealing with his specialties and was recognized with three Arthur D. Little presidential Awards for outstanding performance.

In 1952, he married his first wife, Katherine B. Petrucci. In the couple’s 26 years of marriage they made their home in Framingham, Mass., and raised four beautiful daughters. Katherine died of cancer in 1979.

Frank married his second wife, Donna Runberg, in 1981. The couple moved to Danbury, CT in 1983 when Frank accepted an engineering  position with Perkin-Elmer Corp. They have lived in Danbury 34 years.

He was a member of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish and Founders Hall senior center, both in Ridgefield. He was an active volunteer at Hancock Hall’s recreation center, a local soup kitchen, food pantry, and in all the churches he belonged to over the years. In Danbury, he also served many years as president of his neighborhood association.  

Frank is survived by his loving wife, Donna, of Danbury, CT., three daughters and six grandchildren.  Frank’s oldest daughter,Elissa J. Ruccia. died of cancer in 2006, leaving her husband, David Aaronson and his son, Max Aaronson of Ridgefield. The three surviving daughters and their families are: Pamela Ruccia Duffy, her husband, Michael Duffy. and children Michael John and Anna Marie of Hopkinton, MA.; Valerie Ruccia Eagan, her husband Michael Eagan, and daughter Julia of Sudbury, MA.; and Kimberly Monson and her ex-husband, David Monson, and granddaughters Mariah and Ilayna of Blackstone, MA.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, August 22 at Kane Funeral Home 25 Catoonah Street, Ridgefield. CT. The Rosary will be prayed at 6 p.m.

Frank’s life will be celebrated at a Mass of Christian burial at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 23 at St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 520 Ridgebury Road, Ridgefield, CT. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, 110 North Street, Ridgefield.

Following the Interment, family and friends are invited to a reception/light buffet lunch in McKeon Hall (downstairs at St. Seton Church).

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in Frank’s name to: Hancock Hall Recreation Fund, 31 Staples St., Danbury, CT 06810; Founders Hall Foundation, Inc., 193 Danbury Rd., Ridgefield, CT 06877; or St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 520 Ridgefield Road, 06877.