By TAYLOR HARTZ
Former Town Historian Ken DiMauro passed away unexpectedly at his home on Wednesday, Dec. 16. He was 59.
Southington’s first official Town Historian, DiMauro was active in the town and worked as a journalist for several local publications, including the Southington Observer.
“Ken was a wealth of knowledge regarding the history of Southington and was willing to share it with anyone who wanted to listen,” reads his obituary.
The 1974 graduate of Southington High School earned his associate’s degree in communications from Manchester Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University. He worked as a news writer starting at the age of 15, serving as a youth writer for the New Britain Herald and a feature writer for the Meriden Journal.
DiMauro also wrote for the Southington News, Plainville News, and the Canal Lane Times, before becoming the Southington correspondent for the Bristol Press in 1976.
DiMauro contributed periodically to The Observer since its start in 1975, but at the age of 25, he was hired as a full time staff reporter, where he worked from July 1981 to December 1996.
In 1987, DiMauro expanded his influence on the town when state legislation was passed to give municipalities the power to appoint an official historian. He assumed the role of Southington’s first Town Historian. Since Southington was the first town to act on the new legislation, DiMauro became the first Town Historian in Connecticut, a role he served from 1987 to 1997.
“The position worked so great with his roles as a journalist,” said Chris Fortier, who succeeded DiMauro in the position with the town.
“He made history something exciting and lively,” said Fortier, “He made it so it could be enjoyed by a 5-year-old or a 90-year-old trying to remember what it was like.”
In 1988, DiMauro was named the Family Living Editor of The Observer, and he served as interim editor in November of that year. He contributed as the Family Living Editor until December of 1996 when he was succeeded by Robin Lee Michel.
“He mentored me right from the beginning,” said Michel, who worked with DiMauro in the news from 1992 to 2012. “He was very personable and very passionate about preserving local history and was very eager to share what he knew.”
Michel credits DiMauro with the launch of her own career in journalism.
“He was instrumental in keeping Southington history alive,” she said.
Michel said she remembers how DiMauro had followers and fans of his writing, but Fortier recalls DiMauro’s love of making others into local celebrities.
“He loved to go back and remind people about people who had been important figures in the town,” said Fortier. “He let the community know about people and places we should know about.”
Fortier said that, as an active member of the Southington Historical Society, DiMauro was proud of his involvement with preserving the carousel at Lake Compounce and the Milldale Train Depot.
He is survived by his wife of 25-years, AnnMarie Pallotti DiMauro.
Funeral services were held on Dec. 21 at the Plantsville Funeral Home with a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Aloysius Church in Plantsville. Burial followed at St. Thomas Cemetery in Southington.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Aloysius Church, 254 Burritt St., Plantsville, CT 06479 or to the Abbey of Regina Laudis, 273 Flanders Rd., Bethlehem, CT 06751.
On Dec. 20, DiMauro was posthumously awarded the Council Pin, an honor given by the Southington Town Council to individuals who have provided extraordinary service to the town.
“He gave his whole life to the history of Southington,” said Town Councilor Victoria Triano, who was a friend of DiMauro’s, “His life revolved around the history of this community.”