Richard Clifford Gavalis, 83, of Union Dale, died Saturday at the Regional Hospital of Scranton. His wife is the former Matilda Equinozzi.
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Born in West Scranton, son of the late John and Nellie Gavalis, he was a 1947 graduate of West Scranton High School. After receiving a Navy scholarship, he graduated top of his class at Penn State University in 1951. Richard was skilled in numerous professions.
After graduating college he traveled the U.S. and Canada building aero-space programs for several firms. At General Electric in Valley Forge, he worked on re-entry design for the space program. Later, as an entrepreneur, he built businesses in the security and telecommunication industries, while also establishing a Christmas tree farm to fund his sons' college educations.
Richard always had a love of flight, serving in the Civil Air Patrol and graduating Penn State with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He worked for Boeing, Aerojet, AVRO, Vertol and General Electric. Richard earned his pilot's license at the age of 49. He was an avid radio control modeler and later in life returned to his true passion of aeronautical engineering, serving as a special consultant on the Osprey Project at Boeing.
He loved his family, modeling airplanes, fishing, hors d'oeuvres by the lake with Dingo, Snowball and Snowflake and especially skiing. Richard even conceived and patented his own ski design.
Richard was a loving, committed and light-hearted husband and father who will be deeply missed by all of his family and those who were fortunate to have known him.
He is also survived by two sons, Richard and Erick; and a sister, Dorothy Antosh.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday at 11 a.m. in Ascension Parish, St. Joseph's Church, 741 Delaware St., Forest City, by Rev. Patrick L. Albert, pastor.
Friends may call Saturday from 10:30 to 11 at the church. Cremation arrangements have been entrusted to the Shifler-Parise Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Clifford. To send online condolences to the family, visit www.parisefuneralhome.com.
Published in Scranton Times on Mar. 6, 2013