Richard (Dick) Roy, a former 10-term state representative for the 119th District in Milford, died Sunday, June 2, at age 76.
Roy started his 20-year legislative career in 1992, winning election after election until 2012, when he did not seek reelection because the district lines shifted and excluded the area where he lived.
During his years in Hartford he championed environmental issues and was at the forefront pushing distracted driving laws.
“He was proud to have secured the passage of the state’s first distracted driving bill as well as mandatory labeling of GMO products and the banning of pesticides on school property,” his family wrote in an obituary. “He chaired the Environmental Committee for many years.”
According to news reports, upon the end of his time in Hartford, Roy said, “These last 20 years have been great. I feel like a thief who has stolen the good qualities that make Connecticut a great place to live from each and every one of you.”
Laws that Roy battled for during his years as a state legislator also included those that banned the use of toxic lawn care products from day care centers and preschools.
He often talked about returning life to a simpler time, and he said creating laws that allow businesses to prosper was important to accomplish that simplicity.
Roy also pushed for alternative energy sources and the use of clean transportation.
During Monday’s Board of Aldermen’s meeting in Milford, the aldermen bowed their heads in a moment of silence to remember Roy.
Mayor Ben Blake described him as “a good friend to Milford,” and someone who will be missed.
Blake said later that Roy approached his job as a legislator in news reporter fashion, gathering all his information and listening to both sides before coming to a conclusion. “His approach to all issues was like a reporter,” Blake said.
Former state Representative of the 118th District James Amann said, “There’s nobody that didn’t like Richie Roy.” Amann described Roy as a man ahead of his time in terms of environmental issues, distracted driving and crosswalk legislation, and more. He also remembers Roy suggesting that legislators who each year honored athletes at the University of Connecticut for athletic achievement should also have a day to honor students for academic achievement. Amann said that became a tradition.
“He was very unique,” Amann said, “with his dry sense of humor and intelligence. He was always calm, cool and collected. I never saw him get mad or agitated.”
Milford Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith described Roy as a friend and a gentleman; a man devoted to his family and committed to his community.
“He will be remembered as someone who worked tirelessly to make the world a better place than he found it,” Smith said. “For that we are forever grateful.
Before becoming a state representative, Roy worked for the New Haven Journal Courier for almost 25 years, first as a reporter and copy editor, then as suburban editor.
After the newspaper, he started his own desktop publishing business called The Write Choice.
Roy was very active in the Milford community, as a member of the Woodmont Volunteer Fire Department and the Irish Heritage Society. He was a past grand marshal of the Milford Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, and master of ceremony for Woodmont Day for many years.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, June 7, at 10:30 a.m. at Saint Agnes Church, 400 Merwin Avenue, Milford.
Interment will be private. Friends and family may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, at the Cody-White Funeral Home, 107 Broad Street, Milford.