TORRINGTON — John Peter Gogolya passed away peacefully on July 19, 2020, following a brief illness. He was 73.
Born Dec. 18, 1946, John was known to most as “Pete.” He lived his entire life in Torrington and was a graduate of Torrington High School. Pete learned how to bartend at a young age when he began mixing drinks for his parents, John and “Livvie,” at just 10 years old. His experience paid off as he spent many years bartending at Dick’s Restaurant in Torrington. Pete spent nearly 25 years as both a maintenance worker and security guard at Lakeridge in Burrville. His favorite job, however, was running a “semi-successful” sports betting enterprise in the early 1980s before the feds shut him down.
Pete was a big sports fan. He defied his father by turning his back on his dad’s beloved Boston Red Sox, choosing instead to root for a real team - the New York Yankees. Pete was also a big fan of the Green Bay Packers and UConn Huskies basketball. Pete enjoyed a good ribeye, cooked rare, and would verbally chastise anyone who added ketchup to their steak. He informed anyone who would listen that he could eat pasta seven nights a week and often did. Pete loved laying in the sun. Regardless of the season, he could often be found in his backyard working on his tan while listening to music on the oldies station.
Pete spent many years as a loyal parishioner of St. Peter Church, where he could be found every Sunday standing in the back during 8:30 Mass - which he said was simply to beat the crowd when services ended and not to avoid talking to people. Pete could be sarcastic and loved to make outrageous comments, which he often did while standing in line at the grocery store - much to the embarrassment of his kids. He was generous to a fault and would gladly hand over his last two dollars to a friend in need.
Pete is survived by his son, Walter Gogolya of Morris; a daughter, Loralee Gogolya Parker of Waterbury, and his granddaughter, Bella Parker, also of Waterbury. He was predeceased by his parents, John and Olivia Gogolya.
In accordance with Pete’s wishes, services and burial will be private.
Published in the Waterbury Republican-American on July 21, 2020.
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