Richard L. Silva, known as Dick, died unexpectedly at his Provincetown home on May 16, 2022. The cause of death, confirmed by his wife, Joyce, was sudden cardiac arrest. He was 84.
The only child of Julia (Days) and Lawrence “Pat” Silva, Dick was born on Nov. 27, 1937 in Boston. He grew up in the East End of Provincetown on Law Street, where his parents ran Julia’s Cottages.
When he was a boy, he and his father built an iceboat, which they sailed on Pilgrim Lake, the winters back then, according to Joyce, being colder than they are today. Later on he honed his sailing skills by filling out shorthanded crews for Francis “Flyer” Santos and Joseph Andrews, but he most enjoyed sailing his own Rhodes 19 sailboat off Flyer’s Beach.
Dick graduated from Provincetown High School in 1955. That September, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was stationed in Newport, R.I. before serving on board the USS McCaffery, which took him to ports all over the world. He recalled his travels in the Mediterranean with special fondness.
After his discharge in 1958, he worked for Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut. In 1969, he returned to Massachusetts to work as the assistant maintenance manager of Framingham Union Hospital. On his first day at work, he was introduced to Joyce Young as she was punching in.
“I thought he was cute,” Joyce said, “and he was probably married.” He wasn’t.
In the late 1960s, Dick earned his pilot’s license and would invite Joyce to fly with him in a rented single-engine Cessna. Joyce hated to fly, she said, but she didn’t want him to ask anyone else. She flew with him regularly until they married on April 7, 1972, after which Joyce kept her feet firmly on the ground.
Dick also was a skilled diver who volunteered with the Wellesley police and fire depts. on search and rescue missions.
In 1974, Dick returned to Provincetown to care for his parents and to raise his family. Joyce was six months pregnant with their first son, Richard, when they made the move. A second son, Matthew, followed a couple of years later.
When his sons were growing up, Dick took them up in the Cessna. Richard caught the flying bug and now is a pilot with American Airlines. Matthew studied culinary arts and works for the water dept. in Brewster.
Once back home, Dick worked at the Cape Cod Reginal Technical High School in Harwich until 1981 and then at the Cape End Manor in Provincetown for 18 years. He and Joyce also owned and operated the Lopes Square Variety store for 14 years. The Dolphin Whale Watch Fleet took over the site when they closed. Dick retired in 1999.
In retirement, Dick got bored, so in 2004 he offered his sailing, diving, and rescue skills and his general knowledge of the waters around Provincetown Harbor to work as a part-time assistant harbormaster on McMillan Pier.
Besides flying and sailing, Dick loved vacationing in St. Maarten with family and friends and taking cruise ship excursions around the Caribbean Islands.
“Everybody has been telling me what a wonderful guy he was,” Joyce said this week. “Dick knew everybody and was a man who truly enjoyed life.”
In addition to Joyce, his wife of 50 years, Dick is survived by his two sons, Richard and wife Heather and their children, Logan and Charlotte, of Raynham; and Matthew of Wellfleet. He also leaves a sister-in-law, Beth and husband Bill of Berlin, and many cousins.
Friends are invited to visit with Dick’s family on Wednesday, June 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Gately Funeral Home, 94 Harry Kemp Way, Provincetown. At Dick’s request, funeral services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Richard’s name be made to the Provincetown Rescue Squad, 25 Shank Painter Road, Provincetown 02657.
To share a memory or leave an online condolence for the family, visit gatelyfuneralservice.com.