Leonard Rapoza
Leonard Rapoza
  • May 31, 1931 - May 9, 2017
  • Glastonbury, Connecticut

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Leonard Rapoza, formerly of New Bedford and Stoughton, age 85, passed away Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at Brookdale Buckingham in Glastonbury, CT. He was the husband of the late Helen J. (Chlebek) Rapoza. Born in New Bedford, a son of the late Antone and the late Julia (Perry) Rapoza.

A graduate of New Bedford High School (1950), he was a U.S. Navy veteran of the Korean Conflict from 1950 to 1954. During his enlistment, Len was trained at the U.S. Naval School of Music in Washington D.C. and played in the Navy Band while stationed in Newport, RI and Cuba. He earned degrees in Bachelor of Music from Boston University (1958) and a Master of Education (1963) from Bridgewater State College. His lifelong passion for music led him to a long career as both a music educator and professional musician. A beloved mentor to many of his students, he taught in the Town of Randolph for 32 years, serving as the Director of Music for the town's public schools for 24 years before retiring in 1990. He was proud that six of his 19 nephews/nieces followed his footsteps into the teaching profession.

His professional music career began as a teenager. Len "gigged" from NJ to ME, most prominently in Southeastern MA, Cape Cod and Greater Boston, and for Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, and every MA Governor from the 1950s until his retirement in 1989. Len founded the Lenny Rapp Orchestra and co-founded the Van Allen Band and was a member of the Buddy Braga Orchestra. He was also a proud member of his Uncle's band, the Art Perry Orchestra, along with brothers Tony, Gussie, Manny and Eddie, sister Hilda, and several other uncles and cousins. Len was a long term member of Musician's Locals In Fall River, New Bedford and Boston.

Mr. Rapoza's long-term hobby was investing, keeping a keen eye on the stock market. His love of teaching expressed itself in his guiding countless friends and relatives to enter the market and better secure their financial future. His most cherished time was spent with his family whom he deeply loved, as a devoted husband and role model father and grandfather.

He is survived by son, Dean Rapoza and his wife Joanna of Glastonbury, CT; grandson Cam Rapoza of Glastonbury, CT; sister, Mary Vieira of S. Dartmouth; companion, Maximina Medeiros of Warren, RI; and many nieces and nephews. He was brother of the late Joseph, Manuel, Antone, Augustus, Edmund, and Olivia Rapoza, Hilda Sylvia and Jesse Bernier.

His Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 8:45 AM from WARING-SULLIVAN HOME AT CHERRY PLACE, 178 Winter St., Fall River followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:00 AM in Good Shepherd Parish, 1598 S. Main St., Fall River. Burial in St. Patrick's Cemetery, Fall River. Visiting hours Monday from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Contributions may be made in his honor to: The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, 4370 Tujunga Avenue, Suite 33, Studio City, CA 91604 or online: https://www.mhopus.org/donate/. Friends and relatives invited. For directions and online registration, www.waring-sullivan.com