WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. – Alfred S. Budnick passed away on Sept. 1 at St. Mary’s Medical Center. He was the beloved husband of Janet (Novick) Budnick for 59 years. Born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, a son of the late Morris and Ida (Tinter) Budnick, he had lived in West Palm Beach for two decades after nearly 25 years as a resident of East Greenwich.
He was the devoted father of Dean Budnick and his wife, Leanne Barrett, of East Greenwich, and the late Stacy Budnick. He was the dear brother of Robert Budnick and Linda Budnick. He was the loving grandfather of Caroline and Quinn Budnick.
Budnick graduated from the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Three years later he received his master’s degree in manufacturing management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. At URI’s 1997 commencement, the school conferred him with an honorary Doctor of Laws.
Budnick was the longtime president of Cherry Semiconductor Corporation, based in East Greenwich. He co-founded CSC’s immediate predecessor Micro Components Corporation in 1972, serving as president for the Cranston-based company while commuting from Holliston, Massachusetts. He relocated to East Greenwich in 1977 and as president of CSC, broke ground on the company’s new state-of-the-art facility, which he expanded over the years as the number of employees in Rhode Island ultimately increased from 20 to over 1,000. By the time of Budnick’s retirement in 2000, CSC also employed an additional 1,400 individuals across the globe, while generating more than $100 million in annual sales.
In 1997 Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond appointed Budnick to the Board of Governors for Higher Education. In this capacity, he was one of the 15 individuals serving three-year terms to oversee the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island, charged with appointing and dismissing the presidents of these institutions, among other responsibilities.
Budnick believed strongly in public service and made an active effort to connect with the community. At Temple Sinai, the Cranston congregation his family joined in 1977, he served as chairman of the education committee and the facilities committee. He also donated his time to Junior Achievement, working with social studies students at Aldrich Junior High School in Warwick, to understand business fundamentals.
These efforts continued following his move to Florida. He volunteered at SCORE Palm Beach, advising fledgling entrepreneurs who were launching small businesses. He also became a small claims court mediator for Florida’s 15th Judicial Circuit, in Palm Beach County. In addition, he was appointed to the Safety Committee of the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.
Budnick was a strong advocate for physical fitness, going all the way back to his days as a varsity tennis player at Rogers High School in Newport. He would later become a golf enthusiast as a member of the Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown and then the Club at Ibis with multiple holes-in-one to his name, as well as some tournament victories. He was part of a regular bike-riding crew at Ibis, where his business acumen also led him to serve as a member of the country club community’s Finance Committee.
Throughout his life he would remain a proud graduate of URI. He served on URI’s executive committee of the College of Engineering’s Advisory Council, the advisory board for Sensors and the Surface Technology Partnership for Education and Research. He also actively participated in URI’s mentoring program, encouraging students to visit his East Greenwich facility and providing advice and direction for future careers. In 1998 the College of Engineering named him to the first class of its Hall of Fame. During the period between his retirement from CSC and his relocation to Florida, he re-entered the classroom to teach a class at URI.
Above all else, Alfred Budnick was defined by his deep love of family. He joined his beloved wife Jan on a six-decade journey that carried them across the globe but his thoughts were never far from home. His life’s decisions always turned on their implications for those he held dear.
Alfred Budnick was a true mensch. He will be missed deeply but his legacy will endure in many profound expressions of kindness, consideration, integrity and love.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the University of Rhode Island, Alfred S. Budnick '59 Scholarship Endowment. Checks should be made to the URI Foundation, sent to PO Box 1700, Kingston, RI 02881, with a note in the memo line or make a secure gift online at urifae.org.