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Richard M. Fonorow

Richard (Rick) M. Fonorow of Medford Lakes died peacefully on July 15, 2022 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 63 years old.

Rick was born on April 15, 1959, to Zelda and Benjamin Fonorow, the youngest of five siblings, and grew up in Willingboro. He graduated early from Willingboro High School and then put himself through Stockton University, where he earned a degree in geology.

A licensed geologist, Rick worked in the private sector for several years before joining the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2000, first as a biologist and later as a project manager. His work included representing the Corps in the recovery efforts after Super Storm Sandy, helping restore the ecosystem along the Philadelphia Waterfront, and managing flood-reduction projects in the Delaware River basin. Rick brought an attention to detail and a respect for the natural world to these assignments.

Rick retired in 2016, and he dedicated his time to honing his passions for tennis, chess, crossword puzzles, hiking, and smoking and grilling on the barbecue. During the pandemic, he and his wife, Laura, hiked the 50-mile Batona Trail in the Pinelands region of Southern New Jersey. Although Rick and Laura hiked in many of our country’s most majestic national parks, Rick loved the gentle beauty of the Pinelands. He was eager to share his knowledge of the region’s plants and unique geology with everyone who went out into the woods with him.

Rick was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife, Carol (Newman) Fonorow, whom he met at Stockton and who died in 1996.

Rick is survived by his son, David Fonorow (Mercedes), of La Grange, Illinois. Rick was a wonderful father, and he loved everything about being a dad. For eight years after Carol’s death, Rick raised David as a single father. He never stopped being there for David, and he was so proud of the man his son had become.

Rick is also survived by his wife, Laura Otterbourg. Rick and Laura met through and married in 2004. Laura had also lost her first husband. She, Rick and David were joyously able to make a family together, the three of them in Medford Lakes in a house that backed up to a pond that Rick named “Lake Fonorow.”

Rick is also survived by his siblings, Nina Sackett (Steve) of Rockville, Md., Faye Mescher of Loxahatchee, Fla., Ken Fonorow (Andrea) of Newberry, Fla. and Ira “Bob” Fonorow (Christine) of Absecon, N.J., and many nieces and nephews.

Rick was smart and funny, with a sly sense of humor. He was a loyal and supportive friend, blessed with good judgment and keen observational skills.

Rick loved the outdoors and believed it was our duty to take better care of the planet. He was a strident advocate for recycling and a naturalist in his own yard filled with native plants to the local Pinelands region. Rick’s final achievement was the creation of a butterfly garden in his backyard, filled – at Rick’s insistence – with plants to attract pollinators in a natural habitat.

Until his cancer, Rick played tennis regularly and enjoyed watching tennis on TV and annually at the US Open. He loved the Eagles. It was a highlight of his life to watch them win the Super Bowl in 2018, an event he and David witnessed in person. It was one of many father-son road trips, the Fonorow men driving through blizzards as they made their way west.

May Rick’s memory be for a blessing.

In place of flowers, donations can be made to the cancer charity of your choice
or the following organizations in Rick’s memory:

Pinelands Preservation Alliance

17 Pemberton Rd
Southampton NJ 08088

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
1500 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 200
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

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