Published: April 25, 2023
MANSFIELD, CONN. — Rudy J. Favretti, a celebrated landscape architect and historian, passed away on April 13, at the age of 90 after a prolonged illness. Rudy shaped the field of landscape design history and the preservation of historic gardens. He dedicated his career to teaching at the University of Connecticut, where he founded the nationally accredited landscape architecture preservation program and published more than 20 books. In private practice he restored hundreds of gardens throughout the United States and Europe including many with the Garden Club of Virginia such as Monticello, Mount Vernon and Montpelier. Rudy’s preservation-restoration plans and related materials are part of the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. His numerous accolades include a merit award from the American Society of Landscape Architects of which he was a Fellow, as well as induction into the American Antiquarian Society in 1987.
Rudy had a deep sense of community and believed in the importance of preserving family history. He collected family stories and photos and wrote a book, Jumping the Puddle, that recounted his family’s extensive history in his Italian ancestral village of Forno di Zoldo and Val Zoldana and their immigration to the United States. Rudy was also dedicated to his local communities of Mansfield and Mystic, Conn. He served in public service for decades, advocating for wise land use and conservation, caring for his neighbors, and bringing local history to life. In 2022, Rudy was appointed Mansfield Town Historian, an honor he cherished.
Rudy was well liked wherever he went for his kindness, enthusiasm for learning and common sense. He never lost his love for family, beauty, puns and funny stories, and engaging with people, nor his conviction that returning to the Earth from which we are made is the way things should be. Rudy is survived by his wife (m 1956) and love of his life Joy Van de Vere Putman Favretti, his daughter Elizabeth Emily Favretti Macdonald, her husband James Robert Macdonald, and their son James Francis Macdonald (and his fiancée Isabelle Gottschalk). He is also survived by his daughter Margaret Augusta Favretti (Maggie), Maggie’s husband Paul David Duddy, and Maggie’s daughter Sarah Putman Myers (and her partner Greg August). Rudy was predeceased by his much-loved son Giovanni Davide Favretti (1958-2021) and is survived by Giovanni’s husband, Frank Holozubiec.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Rudy J. Favretti’s name to Joshua’s Trust (https://joshuastrust.org/) and the Mansfield Historical Society (https://mansfieldct-history.org/). For an online memorial guestbook, www.potterfuneralhome.com.
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