• Richard F. Hurd Sr.
    March 15,2013
     

    Richard F. Hurd Sr.

    Richard F. Hurd Sr.

    NORTHFIELD — Richard Frank Hurd Sr., 93, formerly of Plainfield and Barre, passed away on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at Mayo Healthcare in Northfield.

    His funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 11 a.m. at Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy St. in Barre. There will be no calling hours. Burial will follow at a later date in the family plot in the Plain-Mont Cemetery in East Montpelier.

    Richard was born in Reading on June 23, 1919, to Albert Edward Hurd and Sara Augusta (Gibson) Hurd. He graduated in 1937 from the four-year Springfield Co-operative Machinist Course at Springfield High School, where he played football. After high school, he worked for the Springfield Telephone Co.

    Richard’s passion was flying, and he had earned his pilot license before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1941. In less than a year, Richard had a full crew, a new plane and was sent to North Africa. During World War II, Richard was a bomber pilot flying multiple types of planes, most often was the B-24 Liberator. At the age of 24, he was squadron commander in charge of over 500 men. He was recognized for his heroism on multiple occasions, flying 50 missions in a year, the most notable for flying the low-level bombing raids on Romania’s Ploesti oil fields and refineries, known as Operation Tidal Wave, where one out of five men did not make it back. He earned the Purple Heart and the World War II Victory medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    Richard was married to Shirley Alice Proctor on Nov. 18, 1944, in Springfield. They made their home in Plainfield. Richard worked as the deputy aeronautics director for the state of Vermont for 34 years, retiring in 1980. His job included investigating plane crashes and would take part in search-and-rescue missions for missing planes, flew dignitaries in the state airplane, flying the governors from Ernest Gibson through Richard Snelling, and oversaw state-owned airports.

    Richard was also a member of the Vermont Air National Guard until 1972, retiring as a full colonel and assistant adjutant general air. He enjoyed woodworking, gardening and reading. He was also actively involved in town government, serving on the school board, Board of Civil Authority and Cemetery Commission.

    In retirement, Richard reconnected with members of the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group Veterans Association, who called themselves “The Liberandos.” He enjoyed his involvement, traveling around the nation and giving historical knowledge of his war experiences.

    Richard is survived by his loving wife of 68 years; two sons, Richard Hurd Jr. and wife Betty, and Thomas Hurd and wife Gloria; a daughter, Sheryl Hurd Ferris, and husband Leonard; five grandchildren, Shannon Hurd, Tammy DeFreest and husband Theodore, Anthony Hurd, Sara Ferris Howard and husband Nathan, and Marc Ferris and partner Amanda Brown; six great-grandchildren, Cynthia, Jackie, Katie and Nicky DeFreest and Anna and Lily Howard; and several nieces and nephews.

    Richard is preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Helene Doyle; and a daughter-in-law, Gloria Jean Ambrose Hurd.

    In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Central Vermont Medical Center, National Life Cancer Center, Cancer Patient Fund, P.O. Box 547, Barre, VT 05641; or the Patient Activities Fund at Mayo Healthcare, 71 Richardson St., Northfield, VT 05663.

    Richard’s family wishes to thank the staff at Mayo Residential, Continuing Care and Rehabilitation for the excellent care and concern that has been given to both the Hurds.

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