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Dick Flaherty, 1941 - 2021
Gentleman, Father, Mr. Fixit
June 9, 2021

Obituary and life story submitted by the family

aptain Richard ‘Dick’ Jefferson Flaherty passed away at the age of 80 on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at his home in Oriental, NC. His wife Penny and daughters Lisa, Kathy, and Susan were by his side. Dick’s brother Robert, sister-in-law Laura, and nephews Brian and Daniel were also nearby.  Dick also has three grandchildren who love him very much: Michael (deceased), Casimir, and Ondine.

a black and white photo of a young man in black rimmed glasses

Dick was born in Ohio in 1941 and grew up in Chicago. He was a decorated Boy Scout and good son to his mother Catherine and father, Richard Sr.  Dick graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and then joined the Air Force where he earned his Captain’s rank and Master’s degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Business.

In Albuquerque, his first wife Judy (deceased) had their first two daughters Lisa and Kathy.  After the Air Force, Dick got a job with IBM as an engineer and then as an Executive.  The couple were blessed with their third daughter, Susan, in Boulder in 1978.  On one of his many international trips, Dick discovered sailing; the mix of physics, sport, travel, and gadgets instantly appealed to him.

Dick married Penny Brose in 1985.  A decade later, he retired and moved to St. Petersburg, FL and became a Captain once again, this time in the nautical sense.  He and his first mate, Penny, sailed throughout the Caribbean on their catamaran, Penelope. 

After their Caribbean adventures, small town Oriental, NC became home. Dick lived his last years in the loving company of his wonderful friends and neighbors there. He was active with the Old Theater (tech), head of the town planning board, a member of several sailing clubs, and he tutored with HeartWorks.

Dick loved the outdoors, traveling and fixing things. He was an athlete in non-competitive outdoor sports: hiker, skier, diver, bicyclist and sailor (he saved his competitive talents for cards and other games with his family and was famous for almost always winning). 

Dick’s Scouting career, Air Force career, corporate career, and post-retirement sailing career offered great opportunities to travel and he saw much of the world, visiting every continent except Antarctica.   A real Mr. Fixit, Dick loved gadgets and puzzles that would have daunted others.  His family always knew “Dad’ll fix it” and will miss his genius with electronics, carpentry, bread making, basket weaving and more.

With a full, eventful life came lots and lots of stories.  Anyone who met Dick heard at least a few and he enjoyed exchanging tales with old and new friends.  Dick will be remembered for being kind, patient, gentlemanly, funny, athletic, strong, and super smart.   He will be missed every day, and while his family will now have to figure out how to fix things themselves, they will have a better chance at winning a card game.

A celebration of his life with take place on Thursday, June 17 at 3p at Lou Mac Park in Oriental. Bring your own chair. In the event of rain, the service will take place at the United Methodist Church.

Posted Wednesday June 9, 2021 by Allison DeWeese

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