Doctors initially proclaimed that Richard Ireneo Vittorio Costantini did not survive his extremely difficult birth June 20, 1927. But he fought his way into the world through the swaddling hugs of his godmother. The sudden scream that announced his miraculous presence set the stage for a life of determined success that defied all odds. And lasted 86 years.
The son of Italian immigrants (Peter Costantini and Pearl Fava), Richard grew up on Eureka St. in Detroit. Although he made childhood friendships he nurtured throughout a lifetime, Richard always regretted being an only child.
Shortly after returning from a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, Richard went to the Graystone Ballroom on Woodward Ave. It took him only a few minutes to zoom in on the redhead making sodas behind the counter. He asked her if she would consider dancing with him on her break. It was the first day of spring 1947 (a date he never stopped celebrating). Before the night was over; and after learning that she was Italian, could cook, and was willing to raise a house full of children, Richard asked Josephine Amato if she would marry him. The ceremony took place Nov. 15, 1947.
Together they raised five children: Lori, Renee (Al Sanker), Rick (Victoria), Denise and Paula (Andy Fries). They also laid to rest two sons who died shortly after their respective births. Richard is "Babbo" to 14 grandchildren: Angela (Andrew), Emily (Marc), Christopher (MinJoo), Kevin (Dana), Eric, Gina, Dante, Erika (Scott), David, Becca, Gracie, Tessa, Kate and Cara. The dynasty produced by this only child also includes five great-grandchildren: Danny, Pete, Jessica, Allyson and "Baby Girl" Giele who is due to arrive at Christmas, "Babbo's" favorite holiday.
Besides his family, Richard had a passion for friendships, playing golf, watching all competitive sports, reading good books, going on movie dates with his wife, tending to his yard and jumping waves in the ocean off Pompano Beach, FL.
His career in sales included a partnership in the Structural Steel Company, Angell-Ricard, which he co-founded in 1958.
In June of this year, after two heart-attacks, a bleeding ulcer and a week on life support, doctors called his family together and said there was nothing else they could do. They were going to remove the life support machines one by one but there should be no expectations that he would either survive or return home. To the amazement of his entire medical team, Richard resumed life for another six months … to make certain his legacy was instilled upon his heirs: fight to the end for what you believe in.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his name to support the U-M Macular Degeneration Research. Checks may be made to "University of Michigan" and sent to Medical Development, Attn: Sara Seyfarth, 1000 Oakbrook, Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. You may also call 734-998-6893 or visit the website https://leadersandbest.umich.edu/tributes to make your gift. His wish was that either a cure or a preventative measure would be found before the genetic disease reached his next generation.
Read Richard Costantini's Obituary and Guestbook on desmondfuneralhome.com.