Richard A. Lamanna

NOTRE DAME, IN – Richard A. Lamanna, 86, of Holy Cross Village in South Bend, Indiana, went to be with the Lord on May 22, 2019. 

Richard was a long-time educator and professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame and active participant in charitable and community activities in the South Bend community.

He was born on February 10, 1933, in Little Falls, NY to the late Angelo and Josephine (Volpe) Lamanna. Both of his parents were immigrants to the United States from Monteleone di Puglia, Italy.

He was the first in his family to attend college at Fordham University, graduating in 1954 and maintaining special lifelong friendships with his fellow Rams and their loving families. 

After a period of active military service in the Air Force from 1955-57, he relocated to Chapel Hill, NC where he completed an MA and Ph.D. degree in sociology while starting a family. 

Living in North Carolina during the 1960s, Richard was an active participant in civil rights events and marches including Martin Luther King’s historic March on Washington and the historic “I Have a Dream” speech. It was the beginning of a lifelong dedication to studying and working to improve race relations, ethnic and minority discrimination and segregation issues, and urban poverty. 

After a short time teaching at Duke University, Richard relocated with his family to South Bend, Indiana in 1964. He was a loving father who instilled strong traditional moral values and character in his children as well as participating in Notre Dame sporting events and travels around the country with his children. 

Richard was a dedicated Notre Dame professor for over 35 years serving as chairman of the Sociology department at various times. He was always most interested in the education and development of the undergraduates he taught in Core Seminars and Sociology, and the graduate students he advised to follow in his footsteps in careers in Sociology. He studied and authored several research studies, articles, and books in the areas of race and ethnic relations, religious beliefs and practices, and urban poverty. He won several awards including the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership 1998 Award for Excellence in Research as the co-author of Search for Common Ground: What Unites and Divides Catholic Americans. In 2015, Jstor Daily wrote of Richard’s 1964 article of how anti-Catholic prejudice affected voting decisions which had a newfound relevance as similar concerns were being raised about Muslims in public office. 

He most enjoyed organizing memorable annual trips for his students to see ethnic neighborhoods of Chicago and South Bend that most of them had never encountered. He also organized life-changing community internships for students to legal aid centers, women and children’s’ shelters, and other social organizations. Numerous students were always welcomed to his house for a traditional home-cooked Italian meal.

As a member of the South Bend community, he was a faithful member of the Holy Cross parish serving in various capacities of the Parish Council. Richard was dedicated to serving weekly meals to the Hope Rescue Mission for over 20 years with lifelong friends. He consulted with the South Bend Human Rights Commission, various school corporations and other organizations to address housing discrimination and school segregation in South Bend and other communities. He was also a founding member of the advisory board of the Women’s Care Center of South Bend and served as a campaign manager and organizer for former South Bend Mayor Roger Parent. 

In retirement, he moved to Holy Cross Village as one of the charter residents where he established new as well as rekindling old special friendships within the Andre Place, Schubert Village, and Dujarie communities. During this time, he enjoyed many adventures on international travel excursions with close friends and the compassionate staff at Holy Cross Village took great care of him and kept him active in their community events in his later years. 

He was also attentively cared for by Ron Wilson, his personal caregiver who was great company to him in his final days. 

Surviving Richard are his sister, Teresa Moretti of Little Falls, NY; his children, Larry (Janice) Lamanna of Fairfax, VA and Valerie Lamanna of South Bend; his nephew, Mark (Joyce) Moretti of Pittsford, NY; his grandniece and nephew, Anne (Tony) Langford of Dallas, TX and Jeffrey (Shayna) Moretti of Pittsford, NY; and his step-grandson, Simon (Christie) Hanstad of Bellevue, PA; and great-grandnephew Caden Langford.

Predeceasing him were his parents; his twin sisters, Lena and Laura Lamanna; his brother-in-law, Fiory Moretti; and his nephew, David Moretti.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on May 25, 2019, at St. Joseph’s Chapel at Holy Cross Village in South Bend, Indiana.

Friends and relatives are invited to attend Richard’s Memorial Mass which will be held on Friday, August 2, 2019, at 11:00 AM at Holy Family Parish, corner of East Main & John Streets in Little Falls, followed by a receiving line in which the Lamanna family will greet guests. The procession will follow to St. Mary’s Cemetery, East Herkimer, where Richard’s earthly remains will be laid to rest in his family plot.

Local arrangements have been entrusted to the Enea Family Funeral Home, 24 West Monroe Street, Little Falls, NY (315) 823-2424, Harry and Kevin Enea and Martin L. Ciaccia, Funeral Directors. Online notes of sympathy may be left at