Richard F. Caldwell, 91, a resident at Buckley Nursing Home died peacefully Saturday evening September 4, 2021 after a long period of declining health. He passed three hours after he and his daughters were serenaded by the Eventide hospice choir.
Dick was born in Greenfield, Ma., on July 5th, 1930 the son of Clarence “Zip” Caldwell and Helen Jones. He grew up in Greenfield and graduated high school there before starting work at his father's tree business, the “Franklin Tree Co.” He was a lifelong arborist.
He joined the Navy and served for 4 years during the Korean Conflict. He was stationed on an air craft carrier in the Mediterranean inspiring a life time fascination with military aircraft. He has a huge model aircraft collection and a library of WWII aircraft books. Dick was also stationed in Trinidad and had a life long love of the tropics. He attended Navy reunions for many years and was also a member of the Elks.
In July of 1957 he married Alice A. Welch and had two daughters, Diane Marie and Teresa Ann. The family moved to Florida between 1964-1967 for Dick to attend the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. After returning to Massachusetts, he worked at Hamilton Standard in CT., testing back packs for astronauts.
Dick returned to his original arborist career choice and worked for many years on the tree crews for Umass - Amherst. Divorced since in 1972, he lived in Hadley where he picked up the nick name “Dickie Dupa”. He had a side tree business as Dr. Yobokie.
He married Juanita “ Bunny” Phillips in 1992. She was his best friend's widow whose three son's he loved as his own. Dick and Bunny loved to travel and take long vacations to warm climates every winter. They loved to play Pitch with family and friends.
He missed his calling to join the circus as a child, so as an adult he had a large wig, hat, and mask collection. He loved to clown around. He was always the first person to lend a hand, truck or chain saw, when a friend was in need.
Dick was an avid pilot and a long term member of the Franklin County flying club. He flew twice a week till his late 80's and after his stroke two years ago would still fly with friends. Two weeks before his death,
his fellow pilots Cathy and John took him up for his last flight. What a gift!
Dick loved to hunt and fish. He did both until his late 80's. He enjoyed down hill skiing until his 70's. He played piano since childhood. Dick played by ear and had a nice Jazz/ Blues style. He was a manly guy, always tinkering on something with his ever present cigar and beer, but he also made fantastic blueberry pies! He was very social and made friends easily. He was blessed with lovely neighbors. Maryann and Gary Collins were the best and most helpful neighbors ever. He will be missed by many.
He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Beverly, his wife Bunny and his step son Greg Phillips of Montgomery, NY.
He is survived by his daughter, Diane Alcorn of Worcester, Ma.; his daughter, Teresa Caldwell of Shelburne, Ma.; his grand daughter Dr. Meagan (Alcorn) Geoffrian and her husband Alan of New Braintree, Ma.; his step son, Grant Phillips of New York, NY, his wife Linda and their sons Grant and James; his step son, Geoff Phillips of Winchester, NH., and his wife Jen and son Bennett; his step daughter-in-law Nancy Phillips of Montgomery, NY., and sons MacKenzie, Hunter and Travis ( and welcome to new great grandson Wren!) He is also survived by his extended soul family, Lorraine & Tim Edberg (& family) and by family friend, Eva Carrier.
Many thanks to the compassionate staff at Buckley Nursing Facility, his always friendly roommate Stephen and the superb team with New England Hospice. In Lieu of flowers please consider sending donations to NE Hospice.
There will be calling hours (Masks required) on Sunday 9/12 from 11am to 1pm at the Kostanski Funeral Home, 1 Kostanski Square, Turners Falls, Ma., with a celebration of life to follow immediately after at the Turners Falls Rod and Gun Club, 15 Deep Hole Dr, Turners Falls. Lunch will be provided and a group whiskey toast!
The Reverend Mick Comstock will preside over a graveside service Monday 9/13 at 11am at the Green River Cemetery in Greenfield, Ma.
For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com.
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