Dear husband, father, brother, and friend Richard Mecca passed away on Good Friday, April 15, 2022, following a courageous battle with cancer. He faced his illness with strength and humor, never allowing it to overshadow his desire to enjoy life and his relationships with others.
Born on November 29, 1954, at United Hospital in Port Chester, New York, he was the son of Sadie and Dan Mecca. After graduating from Port Chester High School in 1972, he began his career as an electrician in the apprenticeship program for IBEW local 501.
He established and ran Mecca Electrical Company from 1984 until 2002, servicing homes and businesses in Rye. Continuing his work in the field, he became an electrical inspector, ending his career as Senior Electrical Inspector for the City of White Plains. Well respected for his knowledge of building codes, colleagues would often develop questions to “stump the Mec”. He was an instructor for Southern Westchester BOCES, teaching classes in the National Electrical Code.
Possessing a strong sense of public service, Mr. Mecca served as Deputy Mayor of the Rye until his resignation in January 2022 due to declining health. Taking considerable pride in being the lone Republican on a Democratic Council, he understood the true purpose of a political career was to serve the community by finding compromise for the greater good. He also served on Rye’s Board of Architectural Review and Planning Commission.
In addition to his years on the Rye City Council, he was made a Captain of the Rye City Volunteer Firefighters. Always enthusiastic about fire safety, he served as treasurer of the Westchester County Fire Marshalls Association.
Rye Fire Department Captain John McDwyer told the paper, “Whatever project Rich Mecca undertook for the department, he was dedicated to doing the right thing. He truly cared about our success, with no boundaries.” He added, “Going back to 1997, when he was appointed to the building committee for the proposed restoration of Rye’s two firehouses, he listened intently and calmly helped us through the process. Later, he was proactive in improving relations between the career and volunteer firefighters.”
As a longtime member of Rye Golf Club, he will be remembered for his long drives and calm demeanor on the course. While a strong competitor, he loved the game and would play with anyone just for the fun of it.
He also loved traveling throughout the United States, particularly the Southwest, by car and train. Always happy to serve as the travel guide, he welcomed companions on his trips.
The number of people who admired Richard Mecca is legion.
“Richard was a true gentleman and an understated but influential leader whose quiet wisdom was a calming presence,” offered former Rye Mayor Joe Sack. “He was astute at politics, but not driven by politics. It was an honor for me to appoint him to the City Council in January 2014. His contributions to Rye were well established long before his service on the Council, but that opportunity provided him with an even wider platform to leverage his unique talents.” He added, “Richard leaves a legacy of a lifetime of unmatched service to our community, and love for his family.”
Former City Councilwoman Carolyn Cunningham, who like Rich Mecca was a recipient of the Mayor John Carey Merit Award, was overjoyed when the Meccas moved across the street from her several months ago. “He was a kind and compassionate man.”
For architect Paul Benowitz, Rich Mecca was the best of men to work with. “He was a diligent, constructive member of both the Board of Architectural Review and the Planning Commission. He was a gentleman and a positive force who wanted to serve the community he loved.”
Mack Cunningham said, “Rich was a friend, neighbor, and my anytime borrow-a-tool resource. His dedication to the Rye community and passion for public service was unmatched.”
In addition to his beloved wife of 46 years, Adrienne (Madello) Mecca, he is survived by his daughters, Jacqueline Mecca (Michael Harrington) and Elizabeth (Mike) Higgins; and grandchildren, Amelia and Colin Harrington and Grace and Mickey Higgins. He is also survived by his siblings: John (Linda) Mecca, Chris (Diane) Mecca, Rosemary (Richard) Dellinger, Jenny (Robert) Forman, Daniel (Julie) Mecca, and his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Cara and Hon. William Giacomo.
The family wishes to express thanks to “all the Angels who supported us through this long journey. If there is a gift of cancer, this has been ours. Special thanks to the staff of Memorial Sloan Kettering who cared for Richard — Dr. Mark Kris and his team, Allie, Stephanie, and Lauren, who always treated him as a person and not a cancer patient. The Hospice Team of Calvary Hospital and Visiting Angels helped make Richard’s final months comfortable.”
Because “no one can fight cancer alone”, the family asks that donations be made in Richard Mecca’s memory to Memorial Sloan Kettering, or Calvary Hospital Hospice or SoulRyeders of Rye.
A funeral mass will be celebrated April 21 at 10 a.m. at Church of the Resurrection.