WARWICK, R.I. -- Richard Langevin, a civic leader, businessman, and the father of Democratic Representative Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, died Friday of cancer. He was 63.
''His passing leaves a great void in our lives, but we count ourselves blessed to have been a part of his life for so many years," said Representative Langevin.
Mr. Langevin was born in North Providence and had lived in Warwick for 40 years. He had, over the years, owned hardware, sign, shoe, and clothing stores.
He retired as owner of the Pilgrim Sign Co. three years ago.
''Dick had a warmth and grace about him that touched everyone he met," said Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty in a statement. ''He was a dedicated and caring father, not only to his own children, but to the literally dozens of foster children he welcomed into the Langevin home."
Mr. Langevin was a foster parent for 23 years.
He also was a former member of the Rhode Island National Guard.
Friends said that when the congressman, then a 16-year-old police cadet, was shot and paralyzed in a 1980 accident at the Warwick police station, Mr. Langevin was a pillar of strength.
''Dad always encouraged my brothers, sister, foster sister, and me to chart our own course and blaze our own paths in life," the congressman said. ''And when we stumbled, or became discouraged, he was there to pick us up and help us on our way."
A Mass of Christian Burial will be said tomorrow in St. Peter Church. Burial will be in St. Ann Cemetery in Cranston.