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Benjamin J. Suffoletto Jr.

Chepachet, R.I.

Benjamin J. Suffoletto Jr., 43, was an architect with primary responsibility for work on the Ruby Tuesday restaurants around the United States, and on the last few days of his life he worked on the design of a new Ruby Tuesday in Portland, Maine, as well as a Cheesecake Factory in Long Island, N.Y.

"Ben was especially good at ongoing, repeat projects for corporate clients with multiple projects in different stages of development. He loved the high intensity, high energy effort of that," said William Gray, a principal at the 25-member firm of Vision III Architects, in Providence, where Suffoletto had worked for six years.

Suffoletto also helped to design the Legal Seafoods restaurants and was instrumental in changing the appearance of CVS pharmacies -- from a nondescript storefront "to what looks like your neighborhood pharmacy," Gray said.

A gregarious guy, Suffoletto was at the center of picnics and parties, rallying co-workers inside and outside the office. His favorite holiday was Halloween, Gray said, and he always took time off from work to convert his home into an elaborate haunted house.

At lunchtime, colleagues would often find him at the company lunch table, spinning a story about a recent trip to the Yankees' training camp, or some new sports collectible he had found, or what he called "the hair bands" whose music he loved. Great White was one of his favorites.

Born in Woonsocket, Suffoletto attended Woonsocket High, and studied mechanical engineering and architecture at Hall's Institute in Pawtucket. He and his wife, Linda, and son, Zachary, had lived in Chepachet for the past 10 years.

Linda Suffoletto, who was with him at The Station Thursday evening, is in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.