Richard T. Simkewicz

ATHOL — A Mass of Christian burial for Richard T. Simkewicz was held Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in St. Francis of Assisi Church, Athol.

Rev. Edwin Montana, pastor of St. Francis, officiated. The organist was Janet Paoletti and the soloist was Liz Hume. The urn bearer was Chris Simkewicz, escorted by flag bearer Andrew Simkewicz, and photo rosary bearer Danny Simkewicz. 

The readings were shared by grandchildren Jared Simkewicz and Paige Simkewicz. Responsorial Psalm was read by granddaughter Emma Simkewicz. The Prayer of the Faithful was read by grandson Justin Simkewicz. The gifts were brought forth by granddaughters Allyson Simkewicz and Rachel Simkewicz. The eulogy was read by Danny Simkewicz and Andrew Simkewicz. 

Burial with full military honors followed in Gethsemane Cemetery. Bill Kessler played Taps. A reception followed at the Athol American Legion.

Fiske-Murphy & Mack Funeral Home, 110 New Athol Rd., Orange, assisted with arrangements.

ATHOL — Richard T. Simkewicz, 83, of Athol, died unexpectedly on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, at UMass Medical Center in Worcester surrounded by his loving wife and sons.

He was born in Gardner on Aug. 7, 1932, the son of the late Frank and Agnes (Kotoski) Simkewicz and moved to Athol from Gardner in 2000.

He leaves the love of his life and soul mate of 57 years of marriage, Patricia A. (Cygan) Simkewicz; three sons, Christopher of Gardner, Danny of Templeton, and Andrew and his wife Lauren of Athol; six grandchildren, Justin, Allyson, Jared, Paige, Emma, and Rachel; and a brother Francis of Bradenton, Fla. He was pre-deceased by his son Rick in 2006.

Dick graduated from Gardner High School in 1950, Stevens Business College, Mount Wachusett Community College, and attended Fitchburg State University.

He came from a musical family and, with his brother, learned to play the accordion at an early age. They were very active with a USO troop during World War II playing in military hospitals, had a family orchestra playing for dances and weddings, and while in high school, had a group called The Nature Boys.

He served in the U.S. Air Force as a radio and electronics counter measures operator in the Strategic Air Command on B-29s during the Korean War and on B-36s during the Cold War.

He worked as a train director for the B&M Railroad (Fitchburg Division), payroll and personnel director at Sanitoy Inc. in Fitchburg, and later at Templeton Developmental Center. He was a Little League coach for a number of years and played semi-pro football in Gardner.

He was a communicant of St. Francis of Assisi in Athol, a member of the American Legion Post 102, the Polish American Vets, the Templeton Fish and Game Club, the Athol Historical Society, and served on the board of directors for Camp Wiyaka, of which he was a lifelong supporter.

He loved his family and country unconditionally. He and his wife Pat were inseparable. His grandchildren were the light of life for him, taking great pride in supporting them in all sports and activities. He enjoyed being with friends, playing his music (polkas and patriotic songs), going to parades with his grandchildren, gardening, deer hunting with his sons, sports, playing canasta and bingo, and going for walks in the woods.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 11 a.m., in St. Francis of Assisi Church, 101 Main St., Athol. Burial with full military honors will follow in Gethsemane Cemetery, Athol.

Calling hours will be held Monday, Feb. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the Fiske-Murphy & Mack Funeral Home, 110 New Athol Rd., Orange.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at

To sign the online guest book, visit

Fiske-Murphy & Mack Funeral Home, 110 New Athol Rd., Orange, is assisting with arrangements.

Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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