Obituary of Ricky Pyfrom
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I become a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13: 11-13
Ricky Oswald Pyfrom (Rick), a loving son, husband, father, grandfather, God-father, friend, mentor and colleague transitioned to everlasting life on April 25, 2018.
Rick was born to the union of Shirley and Oswald Pyfrom on August 12, 1956 in Miami, Florida. He would be their only child. Rick was nurtured and doted upon by loving grandparents Lorraine and George Turnquest. They helped to rear him and shape his character after his parents divorced. He was brought up in a loving and supportive three generational home. Rick would learn the important lessons of love, family, loyalty and strong character that would drive and sustain him for all his life.
A scholar athlete at Miami Central High School, Rick graduated in 1973 and was accepted to Howard University in Washington, DC on a football scholarship at 16 years of age. Rick was the first one in his immediate family to attend college. He made the most of that distinction finding a place and path which would ultimately provide many of the loves of his life! He was an offensive lineman for the mighty Howard University Bisons. Throughout his personal and professional life Rick would exhibit the characteristics of an offensive lineman, one that is quietly out front: a protector, leading the way, absorbing much in order to ensure that others are able to excel; that was Rick Pyfrom.
It was at Howard that he attracted the attention and favor of a vivacious co-ed, Sheila Hutcherson. They were married in 1977. On June 11, 2018 they would have celebrated 41 years of marriage. Out of their union came two children, Richard Hutcherson Pyfrom (Ricky) and Denise Nicole Pyfrom. In the last four years he became a doting grandfather of two grandchildren and he truly reveled in his role as the family patriarch.
In the early 80’s Rick and Sheila moved to Tampa, Florida. During their stay in the Tampa community, much of his future was set. Ricky, their first child was born. Rick began to hone his commitment to community which included serving as a Hillsborough County Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff. Over the years he would become a sustaining and fervent supporter of the United States Naval Academy, where his son played football; Boston College, his daughter’s alma mater; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Susan G. Komen; and his beloved Howard University.
It was also in Tampa that Rick began his illustrious career with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) which spans 37 years. His career included relocating from Florida to Connecticut, where his daughter Denise was born, and ultimately to New Jersey. At the time of his death, his company issued the following communication:
“Rick joined Johnson & Johnson in 1981 and held diverse roles across the company. Rick was an inspiring and respected leader within the organization, contributing to many critical programs as a certified J&J Black Belt…Many have admired Rick for his passion, his work ethic, and for always going out of his way to help. Rick mentored over 100 people and he was responsible for the recruitment of 75 interns, co-ops and full-time hires…We will remember Rick as a warm person and a great human being, he will be sorely missed by all of us who had the privilege to know and work alongside him.”
Within the company Rick took a lead in efforts regarding Diversity and Inclusion. He served on the board of the African American Leadership Council and was the recipient of the Distinguished HONOR Community Service Award.
Never forgetting what Howard University meant to him and how J&J constantly shaped his professional success, Rick forged a long-standing partnership between the Howard University School of Business and Johnson & Johnson. Rick led the J&J talent acquisition effort with the university and served as a member of the Howard University MBA Program Board of Advisors, and as a member of the University’s Athletic Foundation.
Rick was most proud of his two children and all of their accomplishments as scholars, athletes and citizens. He truly believed his purpose on earth was to make sure they had the moral foundation, self-confidence and necessary skills needed for success. He rests easy knowing that his children are thriving and will only continue to prosper with God’s favor.
At Rick’s core was his love of God, family, friends, his alma mater, Johnson & Johnson, and his love of life. Rick was preceded in death by his grandparents, and his beloved in-laws Mazie and James Hutcherson. Rick’s transition leaves a tremendous void in the hearts of many. He leaves to carry on his legacy of love, family and community, his mother, Shirley Pomerantz; his aunt Frances Bain; wife Sheila; son Richard and wife Kim; the apple of his eye, daughter Denise; granddaughters, Madison and Avery; and God-daughters, Janell and Carrie Rose Crayton. He also leaves to cherish his memory, aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends who will miss his warmth and unconditional love.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13: 13
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the following causes that Rick supported:
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America
St. Jude Children’s Hospital
The family intends to establish a Rick O. Pyfrom Memorial Scholarship. More information to follow.
"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
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