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The Special Event Industry Pays Tribute to the Late Richard Carbotti

The Special Event Industry Pays Tribute to the Late Richard Carbotti

Event professionals from throughout the industry salute Richard Carbotti, who died Jan. 21, for his courage, compassion and connection to others.

Tributes from special event professionals across the U.S. are pouring in for legendary event designer Richard Carbotti, who passed away on Jan. 21.

A sampling:

Evan Carbotti with Jordan Carbotti, Perfect Surroundings, Newport, R.I. and Miami:

I look back and honestly have no idea how my father touched so many lives, got so much done, shouldered the burdens of countless others, and still managed to make me, my brother and my mother feel like we were the center of his universe … how he still managed to be a devoted father and husband.

He was our unconditional advocate and never gave us a reason to doubt that. We were perfect in his eyes, whether we believed it or not, and he was proud of each step we ever took, forward or backward, because he valued movement, intention to act, and instilled in us a belief that a life lived well was one we chose to live well.

A lot of different worlds fit into my father’s universe, and he always made sure it expanded to accommodate different perspectives, approaches and methods.

My father’s true stamp is one that that essentially inspires others to create their own … one that instills in countless minds and hearts a belief that everyone’s thoughts and visions are worth sharing and exploring … his legacy is not about him, it’s about all of us. It always has been. He worked a lifetime to ensure that all of our creative and personal stamps could make their mark and leave the world a better, more complete and colorful place.

My brother and I have been through so much with my father--countless meaningful and unique experiences most father and sons never get to share.

This is a difficult time, to say the least, but we move forward with great pride in continuing a great professional legacy--excited about carrying our shared vision of expansion and new creative ventures to even greater heights--the very thing my father wanted most. There is a hole left in our hearts, without a doubt, and in this outstanding industry as a whole, but we are forever grateful that our father left us an incredible foundation, and the tools needed to carry out his great legacy alongside great partners and colleagues. There are so many amazing projects and opportunities fast approaching for the company my father started 30 years ago, and we, along with our friend and partner Dwayne Ridgaway, look forward to completing all of them and more, the way my father always intended.

John J. Daly, Jr., CSEP, The Key Class, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Tim Lundy and I luckily happened to be with Richard and his family as he left for the next "fabulous" chapter on his spiritual journey. Much love surrounded him, and he was so peaceful. His next chapter will be better than the mortal one he so generously shared with all his friends and loved ones. 


Cheryl Fish, Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.

A broken-hearted industry loved Richard. He always brought such class, inspiration, talent and friendship to each of us that he touched. I am certain he will be redecorating heaven to make it a Perfect Surroundings for all to experience! With deep sympathy to Richard's loving family.

Melissa Fromento, Special Events/MeetingsNet, New York

I am heartbroken for the passing of Richard. But I am honored to have had the opportunity to meet him, spend time with him, work and play with him.  Richard welcomed me into the special event industry and I learned so much from him. I enjoyed the wining and dining we did and will cherish those times.  And, I loved playing ping-pong at Spin with “the Carbotti boys.” Rest in peace and my thoughts go out to his beautiful family

Larry Green, Rentals Unlimited, Stoughton, Mass.

Richard was a pioneer in the special events industry. He was there when it all began to mushroom and grow. And he shared his enthusiasm with everyone. He was a creator, a mentor, a teacher, a giver and a visionary ! He will be sorely missed.

Life is short; let's all enjoy and celebrate.

Steve Kemble, America's Sassiest Lifestyle Guru, Dallas

Although it is difficult to see beyond the sorrow, looking back of the wonderful memories I have of Richard Carbotti provides so much comfort.

Richard was one of the first people who welcomed to me the fascinating world of special events. We met at The Special Event conference in San Francisco in the mid-nineties and from that day forward, I have and will always consider him a mentor, a friend, a wonderful father, an amazing husband, an outstanding event partner and one of the best souls to ever grace this planet. Richard left this world a world a better place, and his legacy and contributions to our industry will live on forever.


Carol McKibben, CSEP, McKibben Consulting, Chatsworth, Calif.

My dear friend, Richard Carbotti, left us yesterday evening. I am so grateful that my friends and his, Tim Lundy and John Daly, were with him and his family. He loved the two of you, just as you loved him. Such synergy happened when the three of you were in a room creating together. No one will ever forget it. Richard was a talented, creative designer, a leader in the industry. His passion and intensity made people stand up and take notice. But more than that, as a man, a human being, he was so charming and kind and did so much to enhance his industry. I am still in shock that he has left us, but can close my eyes and see him rearranging his heavenly environment as I write this.

There's little left that hasn't been expressed so eloquently by others. I just want to simply say, I love you, Richard. To [his widow] Pat and his boys, may your memories always keep him close to you.

Mona S. Meretsky, CSEP, COMCOR Event and Meeting Production, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

So sorry to see an icon of our industry leave us way too soon! Richard was an original, and there won’t be another. He was a very proud man--proud of his accomplishments, proud of his industry and most proud of his two "boys." May his legacy live on.

Andrea Michaels, Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

I have known Richard for a lot of years, all of them filled with his genuine warmth, outpouring of friendship, and his endless store of compliments, a kind word for everyone, always. Two things that always moved me:

1)      He had the courage to play his accordian publicly

2)      That he treated his sons as equals even when they first appeared in his business.

There was a huge lesson in that for me, having my own son in my business. Whether or not they were interns, employees or partners, from the beginning he treated them with respect. I looked upon that as a role model for myself.

Susie Perelman, Mosaic Inc., Pittsburgh

Richard was, of course, an artist and a teacher and an event producer. But it was his approach towards all he encountered that defined him. Expanding on an insightful phrase Pat used in her tribute, I find that "courage, compassion and connection" really define Richard and touch each of us personally.

He had the COURAGE to be a trailblazer, define our industry, try new things in life. Knowing that we are human, we make errors, and that no one is prefect, never stopped him. He embraced the process and exploration--and dreamed big!

He had COMPASSION. Caring about others, teaching the art of expression to empower children, asking questions of colleagues to learn, and giving back to community; his efforts with EPTA and countless other organizations) all showed his genuine concern for our world. [For more on EPTA, click here.]

He created CONNECTION. In his powerful relationships with Evan, Jordan and Pat as well as his relationships with industry colleagues and other family/ friends, making meaningful connections was priority. We grow as humans through connecting with others and Richard lived that way! He connected to those that mattered to him-- and he created connections between others to develop on their own.

Richard will be missed dearly but what he left for us to use as tools in our own journeys will ensure that his legacy lives on forever.


Joann Roth-Oseary, Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.

Richard was a man who "floated" through his universe with ever a sense of style, dignity and grace. His talent inspired all of those whom he touched and the precious memory of his big smile and big heart filled with love will warm us eternally. May his name forever be a blessing to all who knew and loved him, and may his family be comforted in their grief. 

Bonnie Siegel, ASE Group, Overland Park, Kan.

I can't believe barely 10 days ago we were laughing and celebrating the "living" of life, as we celebrated Andrea Michaels receiving an industry lifetime achievement award at TSE ... and today we celebrate the passing of life. Richard will live in our minds forever as he represented the fun, the glamour, the integrity, and the purity of our industry as a Design Ambassador, a true industry icon. He made us all laugh and enjoy life as it is supposed to be lived. He was a man of great style and dignity, and he "swept" through rooms wanting to be noticed and clearly achieved that goal. He was always noticed as he was so handsome, stylish and filled with good wishes for all his friends and colleagues.

His passing will weigh on us for a long time as it was too short a life as we know it. God has big plans for Richard. On earth we watched him rearrange the furniture in every hotel room he stayed in, and now he's needed to move the furniture around in the "Master's House." May he rest peacefully.

Nancy Swiezy, Nancy Swiezy's Flowers & Events, New York

When I opened the Newport [R.I.] Wedding Gallery, we showcased drawings of his galas in the store. A much-loved Newporter. He will be missed. I had the honor to see much of his work when living in town. He supported many charities will skillfully crafted event design. 

Your tribute to Richard Carbotti is welcome--please sign in to add your remembrances below. The Richard Carbotti Memorial Facebook page can be found here.






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