City of Corning Mayor Rich Negri will retire at the end of this year and at 83 years old, he’s accomplished many things during his lifetime. 

18 News sat down with him on Thursday to talk about what life was like before he was mayor and what he envisions it will be like when he’s no longer mayor. 

He’s the youngest of 10 children to Italian immigrants from a community around Naples. He was born in Corning and grew up in a house on Water Street where Wegmans currently stands. 

“We had a great time,” Mayor Negri said. “We didn’t know we were poor, actually. We enjoyed ourselves so much.”

His childhood home was later destroyed by the flood of 1972. A marker is there today remembering the Italian community in that area with his family’s last name on it. 

He graduated from Corning Free Academy then began to travel the world due to work and school. He studied electrical engineering at the University of Cincinnati and was then commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. 

Soon after, Negri worked for General Electric and other high tech companies serving in management positions involved in the launching and recovery of satellites, nuclear power, and computer systems. 

Then tragedy struck when living in Texas around the time he was getting ready to retire. 

“My 13-year-old boy ended up getting killed… with a gunshot wound,” Negri said. “They were playing and a gun went off and he died.”

He was divorced from his first wife at the time then moved back to Corning where he ran into his then-soon-to-be wife. 

“I had a crush on her in high school,” Negri said. “I don’t think she knew I existed… but 15 years of marriage, we’re having a good time.”

He came out of retirement, spent six years as a councilman then ran for mayor after encouragement from Congressman Tom Reed. 

With retirement approaching for the second time, he’s ready to experience an open schedule. 

“…To just get up in the morning and say, ‘What do you want to do today, honey?’ I guess I’m sort of looking forward to that,” he said. 

And despite traveling the world, he was drawn back to his roots to settle down.

“I don’t regret it,” Negri said. “I love it here. It’s a fantastic community and it’s getting better every day.”

He has been mayor since 2010 and his last day is December 31.