Francis “Frank” Ricchi
Francis “FRANK” RICCHI 87, passed away on Tuesday January 16, 2018 at his home surrounded by his loving family and friends. He was a long-time friend of the Pan Am community, stellar aviator, flight instructor, check pilot, former Marine and just all around good guy made his last flight into the sunset this past week. Frank (sometimes known as the “Red Wop” because he had red hair) had the unique talent as a flight instructor to point out a discrepancy in a fellow aviator’s performance without projecting any feeling of rejection or failure. Everyone who flew with Frank as a crew member, instructor or on a check ride would come away with a degree of new information offered in such a subtle manner that nary a feather would be ruffled.
Frank channeled his own life in the same easy-going manner as he did his professional life and was known as the king of the dry humor “one-liner” in any social setting. Frank flew numerous different types of aircraft in almost all the Pan Am bases in the system over a period of 30 some years, but when he transferred to the Berlin base in the 1970s he found a home. Frank was a perfect fit as a check pilot in Berlin and he successfully dodged being Chief Pilot on several occasions because he would rather be in an airplane somewhere than be behind a desk in some office.
Frank started his aviation career in the United States Marine Corps as a Naval Aviation Cadet in the early 1950s and upon winning his Navy wings he accepted a commission in the Marine Corps. Frank flew the F4U – Corsair during the tail end of the Korean conflict in addition to the F9F-2 Panther. Frank was extremely proud of his affiliation with the Marine Corps, as they all were, and he did indeed fit the mold of “once a Marine – always a Marine”.
Frank was married to his lovely wife, Gun, for more than 60 years and they were blessed with two children, Christina (Kia) and Kurt, who took every opportunity offered by travel and living in Europe. Gun and the children speak several languages including Swedish and German proficiently and a smattering of several others to the degree that they could eat and drink in most European countries. Frank was well versed in some languages as well but always quipped that his second language was profanity.
Frank requested no services except a private commemoration with family at a later date. He will be missed. Semper Fi.
Letters and cards of condolence can be sent to the family at;
2425 Michael Rd.
ST. Cloud, FL. 34771