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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Richard Joseph Lomuscio

Richard Joseph Lomuscio passed away peacefully at his home on Shelter Island on Thursday, February 18, 2021. He was 76.

Richard was born to parents Helen and Dr. Richard Lomuscio in Petersburg, Virginia, on October 5, 1944, when they were stationed there in connection with Dr. Lomuscio’s deployment to Europe with the U.S. Army Medical Corps. 

While Richard grew up in the Marine Park section of Brooklyn, New York, his was not the stereotypical Brooklyn childhood since he spent as much time as he could fishing and exploring the creeks and woods then surrounding his neighborhood, and often did the same when at his family’s summer home in Eatons Neck, New York. 

Richard graduated from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in 1962, and went on to obtain a BA in French and an MA in Education from New York University. While at NYU, he met his future wife, Karen Rensberger, and they were married on December 31, 1966.

In 1966, Richard also began what eventually would become a 36-year career at the Hoosac School in Hoosick, New York. From 1966 to 1977 and again from 1984 to 2011, Richard taught and was an administrator at Hoosac, ultimately serving for 20 years as the 130-year-old independent boarding school’s 10th Headmaster.  A true believer in the liberal arts approach and that education extended beyond the classroom, over the years he taught French, English, biology, chemistry, and calculus; coached track, fencing, tennis, and basketball; served as a dorm parent; and pursued his passion for cars by working with students on almost every type of automobile from Jaguars to Camaros. 

Hoosac’s current Headmaster, Dean Foster, recalled Richard as an “icon of independent education and the most remarkable teacher I have ever known.” His many students echoed this sentiment, with one noting that Richard’s “wealth of knowledge and the way he articulated it made you think — and that is what great educators do.” 

In the years he was not at Hoosac, Richard lived on the Shelter Island property that Karen and he bought in 1972; taught at Pierson High School; dabbled in auto body repair; worked as a freelance copy editor for various New York publishing houses; and as a reporter and editor at the Shelter Island Reporter.

Following his retirement from Hoosac in 2011, he returned to Shelter Island full-time and began a weekly column for the Reporter that often featured adventures with his six grandchildren. He also mentored students in a journalism program at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton.    

Richard was predeceased by Karen in June 1983 and is survived by his companion Dorothy Serrell; his siblings Mary Lomuscio, Florence Bernie and her husband Sheldon; James Lomuscio and his wife Christine; his sisters-in-law Kahla Gentry and Kristin Cheyne and her husband Ian; his son Richard Joseph Lamar Lomuscio and his wife Michelle Lomuscio; his daughter Lora Lomuscio and her husband Bran Dougherty-Johnson; and his son Victor Lomuscio; his daughter-in-law Christa Dunston; his grandchildren Myla Dougherty, Leonardo Dougherty, Maudie Grace Lomuscio, Anouk Lomuscio, Avalene Lomuscio and Andrew Lomuscio; and Dorothy’s family, Wendy Fish and her husband Jon; Chad Serrell and his wife Jenna; and Bryan Serrell, his wife Lisa, and their children Marley, Dean and Colette. 

Visiting hours will be held at the Shelter Island Funeral Home from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb 24, 2021.  Burial will occur following a graveside service officiated by Father Peter DeSanctis at the Emily French Memorial Cemetery on Shelter Island at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. 

A memorial service honoring Richard and celebrating his life-long work in education will be held at a future date at the Hoosac School in Hoosick, New York.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Mashomack Preserve, 79 South Ferry Road, Shelter Island, NY 11964, or the Hoosac School, 14 Pine Valley Road, Hoosick, NY 12089.