The Passion And Compassion Of Rick Porto

Rick Porto was one of the good guys: a funny, caring, provocative personality. He served admirably for several years as the city’s director of parks. He was the Republican candidate for mayor in 1987 and likely would have become mayor had he sought the office again in 1989, the year Republican Mary Moran defeated Democratic incumbent Tom Bucci. Porto bled Bridgeport. “Hey, I’m Rick Bridgeporto!”

Porto also served as the 2006 ringmaster of the Barnum Festival. Porto’s painting business was located on Brewster Street in Black Rock. He was the kind of guy that welcomed you enthusiastically if you just dropped in to banter about politics, arms waving, pontificating about this or that. Rick was never short on opinions. He often leveraged words into action quietly helping folks in need. He was a combination of combustion and compassion.

During the 1987 mayoral election, developers shoe-horning condo complexes into all corners of the city had voters grouchy and candidates calling for a moratorium on condo building permits. One of those units was built next to St. Margaret’s Shrine, the sanctuary of peace on Park Avenue. Porto captured the sentiment when he highlighted the condo intrusiveness on the cherished statuary: “Christ’s hand is in someone’s bedroom!”

Porto passed away early on Wednesday after a courageous fight against cancer. He is now in the right hands.



  1. Rick was a good friend and neighbor, my condolences to his wife, children and family. The parks never looked better than when he ran the department for Lenny Paoletta. I remember visiting him in the studio when he had his “Rockin’ Rick” oldies show on the radio; he was so full of life and laughter. Black Rock and Bridgeport have lost a solid citizen and good man.

  2. When I moved into the neighborhood 25 years ago, a young boy with a big smile showed up to say hello. I watched Rick and Jackie’s son Richard grow up through the years of school and then military service. He was pointed in the right direction along with older siblings. The Portos were real family. I never heard Rick’s radio program, but each year as the heat bore down especially on summer weekends, the tunes of my youth were spun from Rick’s back porch for the entertainment of all. I knew him as a knowledgeable music fan, generous community servant, stand-up guy, independent businessman and family man. He was unique. He will be sorely missed by his family and all with whom he spent time and conversation. We have been blessed by his presence and spirit.

  3. Rick Porto is the finest person I have ever had the pleasure to know. Haven’t seen him in years, yet I am stunned to learn he has passed.

    If Rick were elected as he could have been in ’89 the whole dynamics of this town would be different today.

    Un buon uomo. Well done. Rest thou now at peace.

  4. Every time Rick Porto walked into a room, everyone present smiled and was genuinely glad to see him. It didn’t matter who you were or what you did, he always gave every one of us his best smile and, generously, his friendship.

    What could have been …

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