Richard J. Mavro, 89, of Oak Bluffs died peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Friday morning, Dec. 1, 2017, at the Beth Israel – Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth. Richard was the husband of Lorraine (Rogers) Mavro and father of Richard R. Mavro (Nola) and Noreen Mavro Flanders (Brian).
Born in Boston in 1928 as a 2½-pound preemie, Richard was destined to overcome many obstacles in his lifetime. Although he was diagnosed with dementia 11 years ago, many never realized it because his friendly smile and greeting were still the most recognizable parts of his personality.
Richard graduated from Edgartown High School in 1947. After graduation he headed off to Daytona Beach, Fla., on his infamous car trip in his Model A Ford with his good friend Jimmy Klingensmith. In 1948 Richard returned to the Island to marry his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Rogers, on Feb. 19, 1949.
Also known as Dick, Richie, and Greek, Richard’s interests and talents were as varied as his names. At a young age Richard learned that economics dictated that he become a true “do-it-yourselfer.” Every chore became a puzzle to the naturally curious and intelligent person he was. Fixing cars (Model As. into his 70s), building chimneys, sewing a canvas top for his boat, fixing his motorcycle, rigging a new rudder for his Sunfish, being a chimney sweep, and so much more. He was a longtime motorcyclist. He leaves a full complement of motorcycle friends from his trips to Americade and other rides.
In his younger years, Richard was an avid photographer. As he and Lorraine traveled, there were always plenty of slides to see upon their return, with a story to go with each one. His artistic side also came out in items such as the wire boats he made, and the wooden numbers he would produce for Lorraine commemorating how many years they were married.
Richie was a social man. Every job he had saw him working with the public. Those who knew him would remark about him being quick with a smile, an anecdote, or a joke. He loved getting together with friends and family, where he would often become the center of attention with some jokes to tell. You might be laughing, but watch out! You’d never know when you would end up the subject of his humor!
Richard worked for 24 years at the First National Stores (which was located where the Vineyard Haven Post Office is today) until it closed in 1972. Not wanting to leave Martha’s Vineyard, (“God’s country,” as he called it), he declined a transfer to the Cape. After a short stint at the Steamship Authority, he was hired at the Oak Bluffs Post Office. Interestingly, when he transferred to the Vineyard Haven Post Office, he ended up back working in the familiar building where he spent so many years in the employ of First National.
When he turned 63, Lorraine convinced Richard to retire so they could have time to enjoy life. He left the United States Postal Service after 20 years of service, but that was not the end of Richard’s work life. He was a caretaker, mechanic, lawn mower, handyman, and worked part-time for Chapman, Cole and Gleason, making friends with the same men who will now lay him to rest.
Most of all, Richard was a family man. No matter what came his way, family always was first. Many don’t know it, but he had a chance for an appointment to West Point when he graduated from high school. Instead of taking advantage of such an opportunity, he declined it because he felt his mother needed his help and support. He and Lorraine had only two children, Richard (Dick) and Noreen, but he had an extended family that crossed the states. Cousins from Danvers to Maine to South Carolina to Arizona were still a source of great pleasure for him through his 89 years. The summer party for Cousins Day was something he always looked forward to. Richard was enormously proud of his three grandsons, and the “cherry on the sundae” for him was the pleasure of spending time with his great-grandchildren.
As well as his loving wife of 68 years and their children, Richard is survived by his three grandsons and their spouses, Matthew B. Flanders and wife Carole Lee (Sylva), Christopher A. Flanders and wife Brianna (Jean), and Timothy Mavro and wife Kandace (Sylvia). Richard also leaves eight great-grandchildren: Christopher’s children Alanna, Avery, and Amelia Flanders; Matthew’s children Mackenzie Flanders, and Sydney and Justin Bierman; and Timothy’s children Lennox and Ethan Mavro. (Finally a boy to carry on the Mavro family name!) Richard is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins to round out his family tree.
Richard was the son of Mary (Salvadore) Ripley and stepson of William Ripley. He was also predeceased by his sister Anna Mavro Morgan and his brother Donald (Buddy) Mavro.
Services will be on Tuesday, Dec. 5, with calling hours from 9 to 10:30 am in the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs, and his funeral Mass celebrated at 11 am at Saint Augustine’s Church, Franklin Street, Vineyard Haven. Interment will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Vineyard Avenue, Oak Bluffs, followed by a celebration of Richard’s life at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Richard’s name to Beth Israel Deaconess Plymouth, Senior Behavioral Care Unit, 275 Sandwich St., Plymouth MA 02360. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.