Richard Louis Phelan
December 15, 1930 – October 10, 2020
Richard L. Phelan of Marblehead, went to the gates of St. Peter on October 10, 2020. He was the devoted husband of Takami M. Phelan with whom he shared 63 years of marriage. Together they raised five rambunctious children; Marguerite, Charles, Richard, Michael and Melissa, the last three of whom were born at Mary Alley Hospital across the street from their Widger Road home.
Richard was born on December 15, 1930 in his home on 29 Seaview Avenue in Marblehead. To be sure, Rich would specify that he was born in “Clifton” and not in Marblehead since in the day Clifton was also known as Mortgageville. Most of the homes in that part of Town had mortgages on them, unlike the homes in “Old” Marblehead which were handed down from generation to generation. He would later live in three different homes on Marblehead Neck since his father was a builder.
He was the second of three boys born to the late Charles W. Phelan and Marguerite (Bourneuf) Phelan and was predeceased by his older brother Edmund and his wife, Marguerite (Hagen), his younger brother Tom and his brother-in-law Yoshitaka Morikawa of Japan.
Richard’s parents Charles and Marguerite were the original owners and operators of WESX Radio Station of Marblehead and Salem. They were also the proud owners of “Eddie Wrack”, the champion race horse which won the first race held at Suffolk Downs on July 10, 1935.
Richard was a graduate of Marblehead High School’s Class of 1949 where he was notorious for his “Spark Nights” and compulsory antics with “Thumper” Rice, “Boobie” Russell, Jimmy “El Rancho” Eldridge, Bill “Herman” Finnegan, “Gar” Hamlin and Harry “Spider” Palmer.
Graduating from Worcester Academy in 1951, Rich went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1954 he was Keeper of the Black Book and best friends with Richard “Punt” O’Leary, Ray “Cosey” Shea, Bob “Bubbie” Duke, Peter “Woodman” McHugh, “Frankie” Rezendes, Bill “Captain” Kelley, George “El G” Hamlin, Frank “The Owl” Burger, Herb “The Leader” Jones and Peter Dupuis.
Richard was known to fellow classmates as “Dad”. He was an active fundraising alumnus of Massachusetts Maritime Academy and was very proud that sons Charlie and Rich as well as daughter-in-law Linda Ayers Phelan also graduated from the Academy.
An Officer of the United States Navy, Rich was responsible for routing United States Navy ships throughout the Far East. Serving our country in Japan, he became smitten with a radiant Japanese woman, Takami Morikawa, whom he married while stationed in Sasebo, Nagasaki. A daughter, Marguerite, was born to them there. The Navy transferred the family to Karlsruhe, Germany where Mr. Phelan was the last Officer in Charge of the Unit Kilo of the Rhine River Patrol until the unit was turned over to the German Army on June 30, 1958. A son, Charlie, was born to them in Heidelberg, Germany.
Richard became a production engineer at Bomac/Varian Associates in Beverly and later became Manager of Manufacturing Engineers at Honeywell’s computer divisions in Lawrence, Lowell and Brighton, Massachusetts where he befriended life-long friends Richard “Woody” Woodbury and Robert “Bob” Roche.
He was Past Exalted Ruler of the Marblehead Lodge of Elks and Life Member of the Gloucester Lodge 892.
For 15 years, Richard proudly served on the Marblehead Board of Assessors where he brought his expertise in the computer industry to the Assessor’s Office. He was Chairman of the Board of Assessors for 12 years. He was also a Marblehead Town Shellfish Constable for decades.
Together with Takami, Rich owned and managed the Pleasant Manor Inn on Pleasant Street in Marblehead for 24 years. It is currently known as Hotel Marblehead.
Surviving Mr. Phelan are his children Marguerite “Mugsie” Bailey and her husband Jim of Marblehead, Charlie Phelan and his wife Jennifer of Elizabethton, TN, Rich Phelan and his wife Linda of Duxbury, Michael Phelan of Marblehead and her partner Robert Deininger and Melissa Phelan of Merrimack, NH and her fiancé Al Meier.
Mr. Phelan also leaves his cherished grandchildren, Kelley Bailey and her fiancé Dan Stockhaus, Abbey Bailey, Patrick, Clayton, Shelayne, Renee, Richie and Hana Phelan, and Zachary Phelan-Waters.
Richard also leaves his sister-in-law Rosanne Phelan of Marblehead, Kim Phelan of Marblehead and his dear cousins Dr. Takekazu Ohi and his wife Ryuko of Kyoto City, Japan as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A private family memorial service will be held in the Spring of 2021, so that family members can attend.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Massachusetts Maritime Academy, MMA Foundation, 101 Academy Drive, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532.
Assisting Richard’s family is Eustis & Cornell Funeral Home in Marblehead. On-line remembrances will be gratefully received by the Phelan Family at eustisandcornellfuneralhome.com.