Richard A. Northrup passed away peacefully on November 20, 2023, surrounded by his family after a brief illness. He was the loving husband of Mary Lou for 64 years and the caring father of four children, the grandfather to seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Richard was born on March 15, 1936, in Melrose, Massachusetts. He graduated from high school in 1953 and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University in 1957. He played football throughout both high school and college. He was a proud New Englander at heart who loved family vacations to Cape Cod, delicious lobster dinners, attending Red Sox games and cheering on the New England Patriots.
He received his USAF commission in 1957 through the Reserve Officer's Training Corps program where he began his honorable military career. From 1962 to 1963, he attended the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB (Ohio) where he earned his Master of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. His active-duty service locations included Mitchel AFB (New York), Royal Air Force Chelveston (England), Wright-Patterson AFB (Ohio), and Griffiss AFB (New York).
He transferred from active duty to the Air Force Reserves in 1967. Richard then accepted a position with the Rome Air Development Center at Griffiss AFB where he launched his civilian career. He held many positions leading up to his final role as the Assistant Chief of the Telecommunications Branch.
He retired as a Brigadier General, USAFR, in 1987 while continuing his civilian career as the Technical Director of the 38th Engineering Installation Wing at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. Prior to his retirement Richard received numerous awards and decorations including the Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the National Defense Service Medal.
While Richard loved his country and was proud of his extensive service, his greatest love was his family, his faith, and his cherished pets over the years. Throughout his life he was fortunate enough to travel to many countries both professionally and personally. He and his wife Mary Lou built their retirement home in Melbourne, Florida in 1997 where he enjoyed time with family and friends, cruising, golfing, ushering at his church and serving on the board of his HOA. Richard loved their frequent trips to St. Pete where they enjoyed relaxing on the beach and watching Red Sox games at Tropicana Stadium. In his early years of retirement, he could often be found at The Officer’s Club on Friday nights enjoying a cold glass of Chardonnay with his wife and friends.
Richard leaves behind his wife, Mary Lou, four children – Sharon Jervey (Steven), Linda Bates (Daniel), John Northrup (Denise) and Karen Riffee (Keith), seven grandchildren – Christopher Jervey (Nicholas), Jayna Sarpoolaki (Dimitri), Kyle Bates (Casey), Heather Nossokoff (Austin), Jake Riffee, Joshua Northrup (fiancé Ainsleigh Rapp), and Jenna Riffee, two great-grandchildren – Winter and Westin Nossokoff. He is also survived by his brother Donald Northrup (Christine). He is predeceased by his parents Charles Rupert and Dorothy Northrup.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, December 5th at 11:00 AM at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church (5655 Stadium Parkway, Melbourne, FL 32940). The family will receive friends and loved ones for visitation at 10:30 AM prior to the Mass. Following the service there will be a full military honors ceremony starting at 2:00 PM at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery (5525 U.S. 1, Mims, FL 32754). In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in Richard’s memory to the Brevard Humane Society or the Tunnels to Towers Foundation.