Richard Hlavna, modeled the importance of education throughout his life

Richard Hlavna

WILMINGTON — After a brave fight, Richard Hlavna lost his battle with Leukemia Monday, July 26, 2021.

Richard was born in New York City to Slovak immigrants Wilma and Emrich Hlavna. He and his brother William were active in the local Slovak community, and in his teens, Richard participated in the Sokol gymnastics program. He loved to tell the story of how a New York City taxi driver, the father of a lifelong friend, taught him how to drive.

Richard was always a strong student and was accepted to the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City’s elite public college preparatory schools. He graduated from City College and received his Master’s Degree in Engineering from New York University. For a brief time, he considered going into law, attending New York Law School. Richard did everything he could to impart the importance of education on his daughters, tutoring them in math and science, and even buying copies of their college textbooks “just in case” they ever needed help while they were away. He continued with the next generation, happily reviewing his grandchildren’s online math homework.

Richard loved sports, and, in addition to gymnastics in his youth, he played tennis and was an avid skier. He met his wife Joan on the slopes in Vermont, and later when they were married, they moved back to the Green Mountain State, where they raised two daughters, Jenifer and Allyson. Richard was an umpire in the girls’ softball league and a referee in the town soccer program. Richard and Joan passed on their love of tennis to both girls, who played competitively in high school, with Allyson playing in college. In later years, he took up golf but mostly found it frustrating.

He loved Vermont, and was always a New Yorker at heart, but his final years were spent in North Carolina. He kept busy as a substitute teacher, exam grader, and, for several years, he gave his time generously to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), preparing tax returns for those who needed help due to disability or other challenges. He spent his free time playing competitive bridge, reading mystery and spy novels, watching oldies like Perry Mason on T.V., and enjoying his grandchildren.

Richard is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joan Hlavna; older daughter, Jenifer Feaster, and her husband, Brian Feaster; and younger daughter, Allyson Langdon. He will be sorely missed by his grandchildren, Casey and James Feaster, who called him “Grandpa,” and Brody and Gavin Langdon, who called him “Pop Pop.”

The family will privately gather at home to share memories.

Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.

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