Richard Gionnotti is being remembered by family, friends and colleagues for his many years of service as an FBI agent. Gionnotti, 71, passed away unexpectedly in early October.
More than 200 people gathered at Gionnotti’s funeral service to pay their respects and share stories of his long and respected career with the FBI. Gionnotti spent six years undercover in the Weather Underground, (WUO) an American militant group accused of staging a bombing campaign against the American government during the 1970’s. After a move to the FBI’s Miami field office, he became a leader in several important investigations and was a critical component in disbanding a spy network in South Florida that was directed by Fidel Castro. The network was involved in the downing of two exile group planes which killed four unarmed men in 1996.
Gionnotti, who was born in North Haven, Connecticut, was also remembered as being an “everyman.” “He could fit in with any group…He let people talk, and he was a good listener,” said fellow agent Bill Murphy.
From 1971 until 2002, Gionnotti served his country, receiving high honors for his work in the Weather Underground investigation. After he retired in 2002 he continued his passion for investigation by working as a private investigator and eventually went to work for the Florida Bar Association as a lead investigator of ethical violations amongst lawyers.
Colleagues spanning Gionnotti’s entire career came forward with stories of his service and the respect that everyone had for him. He was remembered for always supporting his fellow agents and ensuring that they received credit for their successes. Stephen B. Warner worked with Gionnotti for nine years with the FBI and said he often turned to him for advice and guidance with his investigations.
Gionnotti’s family remembered him as loving, kind and dedicated to his family. He is survived by his wife, son and stepdaughter.