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Obituary: Albert Lazaro Lara

Albert Lazaro Lara, 54, of Haddam, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 4, 2024 at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Al was born on June 15, 1969 in Jamaica, Queens, New York, son of the late Gelasio Alberto and Magaly (Vega) Lara of Hialeah, Florida.  Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 23 years Diane Ifkovic and his much beloved sons Alexander and Matthew Lara. He is also survived by his sister Rita Lara and brother-in-law Daniel Kidorf of East Boston, Massachusetts, father-in-law and mother-in-law Robert and Virginia Ifkovic of North Branford, Connecticut, sister-in-law Denise Ifkovic of Jacksonville, Florida, former brother-in-law Rustam Koralasbayev of Bethesda, Maryland, and niece Kamila Koralasbayev of Gainesville, Florida.

Al grew up in Lawrence, Massachusetts and graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1987.  He graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1991, majoring in Government.  He started his journalism career as a reporter for the Eagle-Tribune newspaper in Lawrence and was part of a team of staff reporters who were nominated for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Reporting for coverage of the Malden Mills textile factory fire in 1995.

He continued as a reporter working for the Hartford Courant, covering the JFK Jr. airplane crash off Cape Cod, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, and was part of a team of staff reporters who won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for coverage of the shooting rampage at the Connecticut lottery headquarters in Newington in 1998.

Al was always proud of his Cuban heritage and mindful of his parents’ struggles and sacrifices as immigrants which gave him and his sister better lives and opportunities in the United States. In 2000, the Hartford Courant sent Al on special assignment to Cuba to cover his parents’ return to the island as a feature story entitled, “A Child of Cuba.”

He later focused on energy news which led to a position in media relations and communications at Eversource, formerly Northeast Utilities, for the last twenty years.  His work at Eversource included handling media inquiries and press releases, storm response activities, transmission issues, company earnings, and assistance with the Special Olympics Winter Games and Hartford Marathon.

Al was a lifelong learner and took interest in a wide range of subjects.  He loved astronomy, history (especially World War II), art, airplanes, building models, boating, puttering in the yard, tending his blueberry bushes, relaxing in the hammock and floating around the pool on a hot summer day.  Al prided himself on keeping all kinds of old tools and scrap materials so he could fix any household problem.  He was always on a quest for the perfect snow shovel or bug zapper. Al was also an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.

His two sons Alex and Matthew were the love of his life.  He reveled in helping them build giant models and intricate school craft projects, or making elaborate Halloween costumes and jack-o’-lanterns.  He took pride in watching them both grow to successful young teenagers.  In the past few years, he loved attending their cross country and track meets, sharing in their successes in these sports.  When his sons were younger, he attended every soccer match and Little League baseball game.  He was lucky enough to see his son Alex attend Wesleyan University, which brought him abundant pride.

If you were lucky enough to know him, you know how incredibly special he was. He was a fighter up until the very end, and he did it with bravery and dignity. He passed peacefully, surrounded by the people he cared about most. We are beyond grateful to have been there with him, surrounding him with our love and support. Although our hearts are broken, we take comfort in knowing that Al is now free to explore the mysteries of the cosmos, as one of his passions was astronomy. He was an amazing father, husband, brother, friend, and neighbor.  He will forever be missed and never forgotten.

Calling hours will be on Thursday, April 25, 2024, at Biega Funeral Home, 3 Silver Street, Middletown CT, 06457 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Following calling hours, a funeral mass will be on held at Saint Francis of Assisi Church, 10 Elm Street, Middletown, CT, 06457 at 11:00 a.m. Burial will be private at a later date.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider donating in Al’s name to the American Cancer Society, the Lustgarten Foundation or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  To share memories or express condolences online please visit www.biegafuneralhome.com.

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