In Memory of




Obituary for Richard Joseph Pietravalle

Richard Pietravalle of Nashua, NH passed away suddenly at his home on February 11, 2024, at the age of 77.

Richard was born in Brooklyn, NY to the late Joseph and Rose Pietravalle. At a young age, Richard showed a keen interest and aptitude in calculus, leading him to Cambridge, MA where he received his B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and where he would go on to meet his wife Carol Smart, who was studying at the School of Fashion Design in Boston.

Richard was a Principal at The MITRE Corporation, where he worked as a cybersecurity expert for twenty-two years. Richard had a passion for research; he was the principal investigator for challenge areas including autonomous vehicle and transportation security, network defense, digital rights management, and anti-tamper techniques. Throughout his MITRE career he mentored many staff members applying his extensive technical skills, his kind and good-natured style and business acumen to the education and enrichment of staff members. Before joining MITRE Rich worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, Strabbnet and MIT Electronic Systems Laboratory as a product and program manager.

His group leader said this: “if asked how I remember Rich it would be that he was continually trying to add value through his expertise, he always added a bit of humor to the room, and all of his peers knew why he worked; to provide for a family that he loved dearly.”

Family was certainly the center of Richard’s life. Known by his friends and family to always have a camera ready to capture moments spent together, Richard documented every swim meet, Special Olympics ski race, Christmas dinner - and just about every moment in between with pride and joy! As a grandfather, he attended school and sporting events whenever he could, genuinely curious about academic pursuits and enthusiastically cheering at athletic competitions. To Richard, every moment was the right moment for a joke or a pun, always delivered with a twinkle in his eye and a slight smile on his face. And without fail, there were always pancakes on holiday mornings, prepared specially by Grandpa.

When he wasn’t plugging away at complex coding or PowerPoint presentations on his computer, Rick was volunteering his time to community organizations that were pillars of the Pietravalle family’s life, namely the Nashua Special Olympics and Gateways Community Services, where he formerly served as Board of Directors President. As a member of Opus Dei for over fifty years, Richard was a devout Catholic and enjoyed studying and discussing Catholic theology and history with family and friends.

When asked what they will miss most about “Grandpa Rick” his grandchildren say they will miss playing board games like Risk, Othello and Chinese Checkers with him. “Grandpa never let me win - even when I was frustrated. He told me that that’s how we learn, and I think he’s right.
“I had a lot more to learn from him.” We all did.

Richard is survived by his wife of 48 years, Carol Smart Pietravalle and their six children: Theresa Barger of Webster, NH; Richard Pietravalle Jr. of Nashua, NH, Brian and Tricia Pietravalle of Roanoke, VA; Ben and Fiona Pietravalle of London, England; Alex Pietravalle of Nashua, NH and Sebastian Pietravalle of Gainesville, FL. He is also survived by his sixteen grandchildren, his sister Laurie Pietravalle of Grand Rapids, MI and his father and mother-in-law, William A and Peggy Smart of Haddon Township, NJ.

SERVICES: Visiting hours will be held at the Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St, Nashua, NH 03064, on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, from 5:00 P.M to 8:00 P.M. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church 216 E Dunstable Rd, Nashua, NH 03062 on Thursday, February 22, 2024, at 10:00 A.M. with a reception immediately following. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Richard’s memory to one of the following nonprofit organizations: Gateway Community Services, 144 Canal St. Nashua, NH 03064, or visit them online at;
The Plus Company, 19 Chestnut St., Nashua, NH 03060, or online at; or the Nashua Special Olympics, PO Box 16088, Nashua, NH 03061 (Checks made out to Special Olympics NH)or online at The Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St., Nashua, NH, has been placed in charge of arrangements. An online guestbook can be found at (603)883-3401 “ONE MEMORY LIGHTS ANOTHER.”