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Environmental safety head Frank Labato dies

by Sherry Fisher - April 7, 2008

Frank Labato, director of Environmental Health and Safety, died March 27 after a long illness. He was 56.

Labato, who lived in Vernon, joined the University in 1988, and worked to build a strong, organized, and centralized environmental office.

He headed the chemical, biological, radiation, and occupational safety sections at the University – critically important areas that affect student, faculty, and staff safety, and the functioning of labs and many other areas at the University.

“Frank did an extraordinary job in centralizing health and safety aspects for the benefit of the entire University community,” says Stefan Wawzyniecki, chemical health and safety manager.

“He will be missed by everyone whose lives he touched.”

Well known and respected in his field, Labato led UConn through a time of increased federal and state regulation. He was known for his thoughtful and thorough approach to complex issues.

Robert Hudd, associate vice president of public and environmental safety, says, “It has been an honor for me to work with Frank, not only because he was so professional and knowledgeable, but also because he was a wonderful person.”

Terri Dominguez, occupational health and safety manager, says Labato’s “caring, respect, and great sense of humor made him a wonderful person to work for. He was a great boss and dear friend.”

Business manager Jane Miner says Labato made the workplace a “home away from home. He will be missed.”

Labato received a bachelor’s degree from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, and a master’s degree in environmental heath from the University of Massachusetts.

He was a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Campus Safety Health and Environment Association, and the Institute of Hazardous Materials Managers.

He enjoyed hunting and fishing and liked fixing things and spending time with his family.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Rita; and his children Laura, Maria, and Kevin.

Donations in Labato’s memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 1004, Meriden, CT  06450-1004.

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