Commander Richard G. (Guptil) Graham (1924 - 2018)

  • "Hi Daddy-O, Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and..."
    - Nancy Graham
  • "I could never imagine my life without you Dad. You have..."
    - Linda Haidinger
  • "I could never imagine my life without you Dad. You have..."
    - Linda Haidinger
  • "Dad, Today is one year. I miss you and I love you with all..."
  • "Dad, I would tell you how much I miss you,but you already..."
Service Information
Waters Funeral Home - Concord
Concord, NH

Commander Richard G. Graham, The Great American, age 93, of Rolinda Avenue passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, April 22, 2018.

Richard "Dick" was born Nov. 26, 1924, in Haverhill, Mass., the son of the late Thomas and Gladys (Massie) Graham.  Graduating from Haverhill High School in 1942, Dick had a desire to serve his country in the U.S. Navy.

On Dec. 11, 1942 at the age of 18, Dick was sworn into the Navy as a Naval Aviation Cadet and was assigned to the Naval Air Training program in Pensacola, Fla.  This began his lifelong career in aviation.  On Oct. 24, 1944, he was commissioned an Ensign, earned the designation of Naval Aviator and was awarded his Wings of Gold. His orders were to report to fighter pilot training and carrier qualifications.  Among his many assignments as a fighter pilot was serving aboard the aircraft carriers USS Princeton and USS Valley Forge for combat operations in Korea.  He made the transition from fixed wing to rotary wing and was attached to several helicopter squadrons.  While stationed in Baltimore he was a member of the USS Constellation Restoration Committee and was always happy to hand out coins struck from the original ship. In 1967, while assigned to the Naval Air Systems Command, he retired with the rank of Commander.   Among the medals he was authorized to wear are the Air Medal with 4 Stars, Navy Commendation V, American Campaign, Victory WWII, Navy Occupation Service, and National Defense with a Star, Korean Service and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation with a Gold frame.

Retiring from the Navy, Dick's aviation career continued with him flying for Air America in Vientiane, Laos; UPC in Concord; Kenai Air in Alaska; and Joe Brigham Inc. in Pembroke.  After 66 years of flying he signed off N-Triple-4 JB and retired at the age of 84.  At the age of 87 he was proud that he was still able to take the controls for a flight.

Dick enjoyed traveling and had lived in South East Asia.  He loved spending time with his family, and though being spread out, he made travelling to visit them a priority.  He took great pride in his home and he especially enjoyed working in his yard.   At the end of the day you could find him out back on the deck relaxing with his wife, family and friends. He always had great stories and enjoyed telling them as much as everyone enjoyed hearing them.   Another favorite activity was taking his convertible out for a ride and getting an ice cream, a treat he rarely refused.

Dick was known by many and is loved by all survivors including his wife of 51 years, Irene (Chase) Graham of Concord; his daughters, Linda Diane Haidinger and her husband, William, of Endwell, N.Y. and Nancy Lee Graham of Hopedale, Mass.; and his sons, Michael Thomas Graham and his wife, Nancy of Boise, Idaho, John Joseph Graham of Seoul, Korea, Edward Skip Graham and his wife, Jeanne of Ewa Beach, Hawaii and Stephen Luke Graham of Centerville, Ga.; 13 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren; brother, Robert Graham; nieces and nephews and many friends.

He was predeceased by his son, James Richard Graham; sisters, Anne Lambert and Dorothy Caserta; brother, William Graham; and his former wife, Shirley Adams Smith.

There was a private family viewing held at Water's Funeral Home.

Graveside services with full Military Honors will be held at a later date at the NH Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Salvation Army, Concord NH Chapter.

Dick, "You did it your way" and we are all glad that you did!
Published in The Concord Monitor on Apr. 26, 2018
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