Richard S. Gasparotti, 96 passed away on October 9, 2018.
Richard (Dick) was born on March 12, 1922 in Collinsville, Illinois to John J. and Elizabeth (Seifert) Gasparotti. His wife Beverly Ann (Swanson), older brother John Joseph III (Jack) and a younger brother Paul Anthony preceded him in death. The brothers are survived by their youngest sibling, Anna Catharine (Felter).
As a child, Richard and his family moved to Moberly, a railroad town in north central Missouri. Dick and his brothers loved the big steam locomotives and that may have been where Dick’s fascination with all things mechanical began. Richard studied art at the University of Iowa as an ROTC student. In the spring of 1942, Dick used his ROTC status and joined the Army, reporting for training at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA. His answers on early tests confirmed his mechanical aptitude. Dick was assigned to the Army Air Corps and sent to technical and Flight Engineer training for B-24 Liberators at Chanute Field in Illinois. He was then stationed at Boise’s Gowen Field for the duration of the war where he worked as a trainer for war bound B-24 bomber flight engineers. After the war he worked for Empire Airlines then returned to Missouri and became a member of the Missouri Air National Guard. He missed the weather and geography of Idaho and moved back to Boise and transferred to the Idaho Air National Guard as a full-time airman maintaining aircraft. The Air National Guard sent Dick to Alaska during the Korean conflict where he was flight engineer on B-29s towing practice targets for anti-aircraft ground crews. He retired from the Air National Guard in 1967 and began work as an aircraft A & P mechanic in the private sector. After restoring a WWI bomber, a 1917 Avro for Joe Terteling, Dick enjoyed a long career working on the aircraft of the Simplot “air force.” When he retired from Simplot in 1989 he was working in the same Gowen Field hangar where he started his aircraft maintenance career in 1942. He held a certificate as an FAA Maintenance Airworthiness designee, certified to perform examination, inspection, and testing services necessary for issuance of certificates and other approvals of airworthiness. His deep knowledge of aircraft and an unwavering focus on details and the safe operation of an aircraft established his reputation within a wide variety of pilots and aircraft owners. He was honored to receive the Charles Taylor Master Mechanics Award in 1993.
Richard had a passion for antique cars and was an early member of the Southwest Idaho Regional Group of the Horseless Carriage Club of America. On the HCC Labor Day tour to McCall, Idaho in 1954, Richard married Beverly Swanson at the Shore Lodge.
After their marriage Richard and Beverly were members of Immanuel Lutheran Church where Dick, who was an Eagle Scout, was the Scoutmaster for Troop 81 for many years. Later, the family joined Redeemer Lutheran Church, also in Boise.
He restored and assisted others in restoring many “pre-1915” cars and was often seen driving his 1911 E-M-F around southern Idaho. Richard also owned and restored Locomobile steam cars; his 1900 Locomobile is believed to be the oldest registered automobile in Idaho. Dick’s love for antique cars “infected” his kids who still collect, restore, maintain, and drive their charming brass, nickel and classic cars.
Dick and Beverly had three children, Richard of Los Angeles, Roy of Emmett, and Ann (Atkinson) of Miles City. The couple had five grandchildren and there are currently four great-grandchildren.
Richard moved to Emmett, Idaho from Boise in 2007.
Richard was a member of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Emmett, Idaho where his funeral service will be held on October 27, 2018 at 11:00 am
Donations in Dick’s memory may be made to:
Richard "Dick" Gasparotti Breast Cancer Awareness Memorial Fund
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
A Gift in Memory of Richard "Dick" Gasparotti The Horseless Carriage Foundation Automotive Research Library