RI Sen. Frank Lombardo III, of Johnston, dies overnight at age 65 after battle with cancer


Sen. Frank Lombardo III dropped from helicopters to ski inaccessible moguls. Somehow, he balanced business, community service, law-making and family.

“Our Senate family is heartbroken with the news that our friend and colleague Frank Lombardo passed away overnight,” said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio, of North Providence. “Frank was one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever had the good fortune to know.”

Sen. Lombardo, a Democrat representing District 25 (Johnston) in the Rhode Island State Senate, was first elected to the seat in November 2010. According to his Senate biography, “his time in the legislature has included action on a range of issues.”

“He was the Senate sponsor of the Small Business Friendliness Omnibus package signed into law in 2018, which eliminated or consolidated numerous business licensing and fee requirements,” according to the Senate. “He has sponsored legislation to increase transparency and accountability in the state's tax credit programs; require state agencies to develop a plan for electric vehicle charging station infrastructure; provide for the licensing of three-wheeled motorcycles through the DMV; mandate insurance reimbursement for chiropractic and osteopathic non-opioid treatment for pain; extend the life of the Central Landfill as part of the Grow Green Jobs RI plan; and ban the use or sale of powdered alcohol.”

Sen. Lombardo, 65, was born July 12, 1958. He and his wife, Patricia, have two children, Frank and Victoria. A graduate of Smithfield High School, Sen. Lombardo also attended Rhode Island College. According to the Senate, he passed away early Wednesday morning, Feb. 21, “after a battle with bladder cancer.”

“He was a passionate and effective representative of his constituents, and he embodied the spirit of collegiality and service to which every member of the Senate aspires,” Ruggerio said. “Frank’s dignity and courage in the face of illness was an inspiration to us all. He was full of energy and adventure, living every moment of life to the fullest, from helicopter skiing to cross country motorcycle trips with his father. We are grateful to have shared part of that adventure with him. First and foremost, Frank was devoted to his family. Our prayers are with his wife, Patricia, their children, Frank and Victoria, their grandchildren and their entire family.”

Sen. Lombardo was the owner of Lombardo and Sons of Providence. He was also a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors; a member of Rhode Island Builders; and a member of the Refrigeration Service and Engineering Society.

Rhode Island House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi released a statement remembering Sen. Lombardo.

“We mourn the passing of Senator Frank Lombardo, who was a fierce advocate for the people of Johnston, the community he so loved,” said Shekarchi. “He was an exemplary public servant and a champion of small business. A true gentleman, Senator Lombardo treated everyone with respect and leaves a legacy of dedication and hard work on behalf of the people of Rhode Island. The entire House of Representatives extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Senator Lombardo.”

Senate Majority Leader Ryan W. Pearson also released a statement on Lombardo’s passing: “Frank was not only a well-respected colleague but a dear friend. He never shied from giving tough feedback or challenging your thinking. That same spirit also extended to his adventurous hobbies where he challenged and beat me down every ski mountain he could complete with a lot of commentary about it.”

While serving in the Rhode Island state Senate, Sen. Lombardo held several committee seats and a chairmanship: Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing & Municipal Government; Member, Senate Committee on Commerce; Member, Senate Committee on Labor; and Member, Senate Committee on Rules, Government Ethics & Oversight.

“Sen. Lombardo’s passing is a devastating loss for the town,” Johnston Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Jr. said Wednesday morning. “His impact on Johnston went far beyond the senate. Frank was a devoted husband, father, son, grandfather and friend to many. He will be missed by so many throughout Johnston and Rhode Island. My thoughts and prayers go out to Patty, Frankie, Victoria and Frank’s entire family during this time.”