POLAND — Richard C. Carano, 68, died Monday, Dec. 27, 2021, at UPMC Shadyside with his family by his side. Rick fought a courageous three-year battle with cancer.
He was born Sept. 1, 1953, in Youngstown, the son of Herman and Betty Jane Carrollyne Carano.
Rick received his bachelor of science in Pharmacy from Ohio State University. He was the owner of the Village pharmacy and Ace Hardware in New Middletown, the Village Pharmacy in Bessemer, Pa., and the Family Drug in Columbiana.
“When we were little, our dad often reminded us about the importance of keeping our ‘squirrels’ alive. Your squirrel — yes, you have one — is the little spark in each of us that says yes more than no, that jumps at the chance to go on adventures and to use your imagination. Each time we said no to one of his offers to hike or bike or to go strawberry picking, he’d solemnly warn us about the health of our squirrels. We’d roll our eyes or pull the covers further over our angsty teenage heads, but if you knew our dad, we don’t need to describe the rest of the debate. He just won. Because he was right. He was almost always right. And he was more persistent than all of us combined.
“No one’s squirrel was more alive. His squirrel was so healthy that his legs shook when he sat still. It was such a wild critter that he jumped out of planes, scuba’d in the sea, sailed in the ocean and knew two phrases in at least 10 languages. For Easter one year, he put our baskets on little islands all around this lake, plugged the coordinates into a GPS, handed it to us and stuck us in a rowboat. We were 12.
“He instilled his sense of adventure in the four of us and had the best first-mate in our mom, whom he exclusively called ‘Queen.’
“His passion for adventure was rivaled only by his passion for the environment. No one had a conversation with our dad that didn’t involve a sales pitch for a hybrid car or solar panels. And his ability to close was unbelievable. He helped sell over 100 Priuses and I think he got half his nurses to agree to solar arrays just last month. He cherished his adventures and knew that the planet needed our attention, respect, and care.
“He often talked about changing the world, and he believed so whole heartedly that we could. He spent every day, literally, working toward that goal and it’s evident in the lives of those he knew and loved.”
Rick leaves behind his wife, Stephanie (Wilkens); his four kids, K.C. (Amy), Michael (Cat), Carly, and Cara; his sister, Lori James (Brad); his mother, Betty Jane; and his beloved nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind Mad Man, Bugsy, Shane, and Chicken Jim — the greatest group of friends a person could hope for.
“Our dad has countless friends, colleagues, and employees who he loved as fiercely as he lived and whom we are all so deeply grateful for.”
Rick was preceded in death by his dad, Herman.
“To honor our dad, please check in with your squirrel, celebrate April Fools day, and spend time caring for the planet we live on.
Together we can change the world. He did.”
Friends and family may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, at the Higgins-Reardon Funeral Home in Canfield, 3701 Starr Centre Drive, 44406. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, at Holy Family Parish in Poland.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to causes close to his heart such as The Union of Concerned Scientists, ucsusa.org or the Ursuline Sisters Mission, 4280 Shields Road, Canfield, OH 44406. The Carano family would appreciate everyone wearing a mask at the funeral home and at the church. If you are unable to attend, the family understands and acknowledges your thoughts and prayers.
This obituary can be viewed and condolences sent to www.higgins-reardon.com.