Cover photo for Ronald A. Pina's Obituary
Ronald A. Pina Profile Photo

Ronald A. Pina

d. April 2, 2020

New Bedford - Attorney Ronald A. Pina, 75 of South Dartmouth, passed away on April 2nd at St. Luke’s Hospital after a long illness. Born in New Bedford, he was the son of the late Antonio I. and Celeste C. (Lisboa) Pina.

Ron began his education at Taylor Elementary School prior to learning a word of English as Portuguese was the primary language in the home. Yet he managed to excel from a young age. He graduated from New Bedford High School in 1962 where he was in the ROTC. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Providence College in 1966, graduating Cum Laude, and his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School in 1969. Ron was the founding member and secretary of the Boston College Legal Aid Bureau and member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau as well as The Honor Society for Catholic Colleges.

Ron was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship and assigned to work for the Massachusetts Senate President. Ron was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and served from 1970 to 1978. While there, Ron was the Vice-Chair of the Urban Affairs Committee and the Committee on Social Welfare. He cosponsored the act creating the Massachusetts Office of Children which led to the creation of the school breakfast program which remains.

While serving as State Representative, Ron spent several years in private practice, as a partner at the law firm Xifaras, Pina, Lantz and Veary. He specialized in criminal, divorce and personal injury law.

In 1978, Ron was elected as the first full time Bristol County District Attorney and served through 1990. Ron and his office prosecuted notorious cases such Big Dan’s which the movie “The Accused” was based on. From this case came the Rape Shield Law which protects the identity of crime victims. He worked diligently on the New Bedford Highway Serial Killings case, having a strong compassion for the families of the victims. The case remains unsolved. Ron was known for hiring some of the brightest legal minds to work in the district attorney’s office, many of whom became judges from the District level to Judicial, Superior and International. Ron returned to private practice until his retirement in 2010.

Ron enjoyed sailing on his boat Cyrano with his daughter and her friends, skiing and vacationing in Nantucket. On Sunday mornings, Ron enjoyed reading a range of newspapers, most notably The Boston Globe. His favorite musical was 1776. For those familiar with the musical and Ron’s tendency to be outspoken, people changed the musical’s signature song from “Sit Down John” to “Sit Down Ron.”

He is survived by his daughter Kari K. Barcellos, her husband Jeffrey, grandson Brayden, and former spouse Mabel Bendiksen all of Fairhaven; companion and caregiver Michelle D. Almeida of South Dartmouth; best friend and former Fall River Mayor The Honorable Carlton Viveiros; and cousins Jennifer (Pina) Buckle and her husband Gene, Matt Pina and his wife Michelle, Gary Pina and his wife Donna and Marci (Pina) Spear all of Washington State. He was married to the late Sheila Sheehan Martines Pina.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, burial will be private. A Celebration of Life will take place at a time to be determined.

Arrangements are by Perry Funeral Home, 111 Dartmouth St., New Bedford.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ronald A. Pina, please visit our flower store.


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