Community leaders reflected on the years of dedication to all facets of Hopkinton displayed by Frank D’Urso Jr., who died unexpectedly Sunday at the age of 57.
D’Urso, who lived in town for 22 years, was heavily involved in local government. He might be best known for being a founding member of the Sustainable Green Committee, for which he served from 2008 through 2020, as he was passionate about preserving the environment.
D’Urso, a computer science consultant by profession, began his volunteer work as a member of the Civic Engagement Committee in 2003, serving for a year. He started the Sustainable Green Committee five years later, serving for 12 years. During this time, D’Urso also was a member of the Conservation Commission from 2011-15 and the Planning Board from 2015-20. Most recently, D’Urso served as town constable.
In addition to participating on town boards, D’Urso was a member of the Keefe Regional Technical School’s School Committee from 2012-15. He cared deeply about the youth of the town, volunteering his time with Boy Scouts Troop 4, Hopkinton Little League and Hopkinton Youth Soccer.
“He was such a memorable person, so full of life,” said Planning Board Chair Gary Trendel, who served on the Planning Board with D’Urso for about a year and a half. “His energy and passion made him special.”
Trendel described D’Urso as “a personal champion for solar energy.”
“Solar energy is a really polarizing issue in this town,” Trendel noted. “Frank was always interested in solar energy. He was so passionate about it. He wanted to put solar panels on all new developments.”
D’Urso also was “a person who spoke from the heart,” according to Trendel.
“He was a man of principle,” he explained. “What was great about Frank was that he didn’t care where he was. He would speak his mind.”
Select Board member Muriel Kramer served with D’Urso on the Planning Board for several years.
“Frank really had a great heart,” she said. “He always jumped in and contributed.”
Kramer recalled a time when she was serving as deputy town moderator at Town Meeting, where D’Urso volunteered to be a counter.
“There was one time when I couldn’t go, and he stepped in,” she said. “He was always willing to do whatever needed to be done.
“One of the things I would really love to elevate is that Frank held deeply democratic ideals,” Kramer continued, noting that they served together on the Hopkinton Democratic Town Committee. “He participated in all levels of government. He was accessible to everyone, no matter what their beliefs were.”
As dedicated as D’Urso was to community service, Kramer said he was especially proud of his son and daughter.
“I got to know him through the scouts with my son,” she said. “He was always talking about his children. He loved his kids, and he also loved his pets.”
Fellow Select Board member Amy Ritterbusch said D’Urso’s death was “such a shock” because he was so young and constantly active in the community.
“I remember when the Sustainable Green Committee was started years ago,” she said. “He was instrumental in getting a grant that allowed the town to switch to energy efficient light switches.”
She described him as a man who “liked to speak up.”
“He was very passionate about what he believed in,” Ritterbusch said. “Town Meeting is not going to be the same without him.”
She also recalled D’Urso being proud of his children, always wanting to show a photo of them.
“Frank was a good man in every sense of the phrase,” said friend Patrick Mahon. “He was a loving, devoted and doting dad who reveled in his children’s accomplishments and successes.
“However, what stood out about Frank was that in the realm of politics, where even local contests can get toxic, Frank personified the thought that reasonable people can passionately disagree, but they don’t have to be disagreeable about it,” he continued. “We were often on different sides of political issues in town, and we would talk/argue about them, but at the end of the conversation, we could share a laugh, shake our heads about our histrionics, and then sincerely wish each other well.”
Mahon said that he read in a Facebook post from D’Urso that he was feeling “under the weather.” But Mahon never expected D’Urso to pass away.
“It reminds me once again to cherish and appreciate friends and family,” he added, “as tomorrow is promised to no one.”
Neighbors John, Julie and Raelyn Ford wrote in an email that D’Urso was a big sports fan,. They recalled spending afternoons watching Bruins and Patriots games with him while their children played.
“Frank was a great dad, always doing things with Lucy and Frank, and adored his dog, TJ. When our kids were young, we always went out trick-or-treating together, so much fun! Frank loved his Marvel superheroes; he would dress up with his kids and have just as much fun!
“Frank was dedicated to Hopkinton,” the email continued. “Even when debate arose, he never had an unkind word for anyone who may have had a difference of opinion, a rarity now. He will be missed.”
Kelly Karp served with D’Urso on the Planning Board, where she said D’Urso “always had the town’s best interests at heart.”
“He was not afraid to voice his opinions and ask the tough questions,” she said. “I admired him for always staying true to his beliefs and values. Frank will be sorely missed.”
“We all know Frank’s dedication to the town,” said friend John Ferrari. “While he was an active Democrat and I was an active Republican, I don’t think we ever had a political conversation per se.
“Frank was simply, in the purest form, a man dedicated to his children and his town,” he added. “If he supported a cause or position, he was first in line and most vocal in support. There was heart in everything he did. He will be missed by all in Hopkinton.”