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October 12, 2018

Ex-Riverfront Recapture CEO Marfuggi dies at 77

PHOTO | Steve Laschever Former Riverfront Recapture CEO Joe Marfuggi died Thursday at 77.

Former Riverfront Recapture CEO and President Joe Marfuggi, who led the nonprofit for 29 years, died Thursday after an extended illness. He was 77.

Marfuggi spearheaded the organization, managing Hartford and East Hartford's riverfront parks and Riverwalk trail system, from 1986 to 2015. He remained involved at the nonprofit throughout his retirement as a committee member, volunteer, donor and ambassador.

Riverfront Recapture officials on Thursday said the organization and the parks system “would not be what it is today without his hard work, vision and dedication.”

“Joe was an icon in our community whose passion for reconnecting the city to the river knew no boundaries,” said Dave Jenkins, Riverfront Recapture’s board chairman. “The Hartford region owes Joe Marfuggi a debt of gratitude. We all benefit from his decades of perseverance, skill and enthusiasm.”

The organization says it created the Marfuggi Parks Fund to “celebrate his enduring dedication and leadership.”

The Vermont native moved to Connecticut over 35 years ago after earning a master’s degree in communications from Stanford University. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in English from UConn.

Marfuggi served several posts before docking at Riverfront Recapture in 1986.

He worked several political jobs, including as an aide to former Hartford Councilman Nicholas R. Carbone. Marfuggi also was a marketing-communications officer and assistant director of development for UConn Health Center.

Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, Riverfront Recapture's second executive director from 1983 to 1988, had recruited Marfuggi to the nonprofit after they worked together at UConn Health.

"He was always that kind of person that garnered respect in a way that compelled others to want to be on his team,” Nappier told Hartford Business Journal in a 2015 story profiling Marfuggi’s career. “He was someone you could rely upon to get things done and done well.''

Marfuggi received HBJ’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

The nonprofit entrepreneur has been credited with leading the implementation of numerous programs and marketing initiatives that have propelled Riverfront Recapture festivals, concerts, banquet facilities, regattas, boat races and rowing classes.

Oz Griebel, former CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance who chaired Riverfront Recapture for five years in the 1990s, in 2010 referred to Marfuggi as "one of the region's most important assets.”

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