Obituaries 04-16-2013

John Fern

Retired Chelsea Police Patrolman, Recipient of Three Citations

John Fern, a retired Chelsea Police Patrolman, passed away at the North Shore Medical Center – Salem Hospital on April 9 following a long illness. He was 76 years old.

Born in Chelsea, he attended local schools. He was a United States Marine Corps veteran serving during the Korean Conflict. John served as a Chelsea Police Patrolman for 11 years, retiring in 1981. During his career, he received three citations, two for saving children’s lives and another for capturing an arsonist.

A longtime Chelsea resident, he has been living in Revere and Swampscott for the past 10 years. He was a member of the Chelsea Police Relief Association and a Revere Beach Habitue who enjoyed boating and was a Harley and other motorcycle enthusiast.

He was the beloved husband of 28 years to Ottavia “Ottie” Santone; dear brother and brother in law of Ralph Fern and his late wife, Dolly of Peabody, Joseph Fern and his wife, Christine of Chelsea, Carol Holsten and her late husband, Bob of Lynn, the late Pat Lepore and her husband, Sonny of Chelsea, the late Elizabeth and Guy Toro, Italia Minchello of Lowell, Marcello Santone and his late wife, Theresa of Walpole and Stanley Santone of Ohio. He was the son in law of Vincenzo Santone and Anne Halteman of Medford and the late Marcia Martinez.

His Funeral will be held from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea today, Tuesday, April 16 at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church, 59 Nichols St., Chelsea at 10:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend.

For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit

Richard Pilcher

Served in US Air Force Intelligence Service

Richard L. Pilcher of Chelsea passed away suddenly at home. He was 76 years old.

Born in Eufaula, Alabama to W.E. and Jerusha (Nobles) Pilcher, he joined the US Air Force in 1955 and served for four years. During that time he was in the Air Force Intelligence Service, stationed in Incrilic, Turkey. He intercepted secret transmissions which were bounced off clouds in order to escape detection from the Soviets. He had a personal friendship with Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 pilot who was shot down over Soviet air space, and was also involved in that mission as a communications specialist.

After leaving the service, Mr. Pilcher married the late Ann T. Dobbins and moved to Chelsea where they raised a family of five children. He worked in the post office as a mechanic on the letter sorting machines for over 20 years. He was also an avid ham radio operator. He loved wind surfing, built his own computers from components, and recently visited the Fermilab Tevretron collider. He loved to fly, and enjoyed a dawn ballon flight over Dayton Ohio in 2008.

He is survived by five children; Tracy Pilcher and her partner, Steve Olsyzna of Detroit MI, Alison Pilcher, and her spouse, Arthur Tsicoulias, Paul Pilcher of Phoenix, AZ., Nancy Midura and her late husband, Bobby Midura of Natick  and Richard “Eric” Pilcher of Lynn; two grandchildren, Franklin Pilcher of Chillmark and Robert E. Midura of Natick. He also leaves many cousins in Alabama including Bea Miller of Andalusia, Alabama.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Smith Funeral Home, Chelsea. Interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Robert Midura Scholarship Fund, Chelsea Employees Federal Credit Union, Chelsea City Hall, 500 Broadway, Chelsea, MA 02150

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