Richard R. “The Rock” LaBelle, 77, a lifelong resident of Springfield, died early Thursday afternoon, October 21, 2021 at Sixteen Acres Healthcare Center, surrounded by his loving children at his side. He was born and educated in Springfield, a son of the late Leo P. and Helen M. (Porowski) LaBelle. Richard was a veteran of the Vietnam War serving with the United States Air Force from which he received his honorable discharge from active duty in January of 1966. He returned to Springfield and civilian life serving the City of Springfield Police Department as a patrolman in 1973. He worked in Uniform, Narcotics, & Juvenile, and was commander at the Assessment Center of the Youth Aid Bureau, Student Support Unit, Gang Suppression Unit, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant in 2002. He was a lifelong member of the ELKS, President of the Retired Police & Firefighters of Springfield, and avid blood donor. Richard was the beloved husband of 53 years to the late Sally A. (Conklin) LaBelle who died in December of 2019 and leaves three loving children, Richard R. LaBelle, Jr. and his wife Nadiya of Springfield, Kristin Smith and her husband Edward of Agawam, and John P. LaBelle and his wife Christine of West Hartford, CT; 5 cherished grandchildren, Ryan Smith, Megan Smith, Nolan LaBelle, Mikael LaBelle, and Charlotte LaBelle; as well as several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Besides his parents, Richard was predeceased by his brother, Leo P. LaBelle and his sister, Joan C. LaBelle. Relatives and friends may call on Thursday, October 28th from 4-7 PM at the Byron Keenan Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center, 1858 Allen Street in Springfield. His funeral will be held on Friday, October 29, meeting directly at St. John the Evangelist Church, 833 Main Street in Agawam for a 11:45 Mass of Christian Burial. Committal prayers followed by military honors will conclude at 1:00 PM at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, 1390 Main Street in Agawam. Contributions in Richard’s name may be directed to the charity of one’s choice.
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