MAJ Richard "Dick" W. Bourne was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 10/06/2016 at the age of 81.9 from Cancer
Oakes, ND
Date of Birth 11/18/1934
Served in the U.S. Air Force
This information was provided by Obituary

More detail on this person: Richard "Dick" Wentworth Bourne took his final flight on 06 Oct, 2016 after battling cancer for more than two years. He was a friend to everyone as well as a distinguished military officer, educator, father, husband and hoarder. Not a man for material possessions - he would give you the shirt off his back. However, he never threw away a receipt or bank statement in his 82 years.

A celebration of life will be held at Oakes Public School Gymnasium with a parade and reception at the Angry Beaver Lodge in Oakes on October 22, 2016 starting at 2:00. Burial will be at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery with a full military ceremony.

Dick was oldest of 12 siblings, born a diehard Red Sox fan to Osgood Wentworth and Winifred Daley Bourne on Nov. 18, 1934 in Wakefield, MA. He was active in football, baseball, and basketball and was voted "Most Handsome" in his graduating class at Ayer High School. He joined the Navy at 17 to help his family and begin to realize his dream of world travel. He trained as an airplane mechanic and deployed to the Pacific toward the end of the Korean War, where he met his first love: All things aviation. Leaving the Navy after his first "hitch," he thumbed his way to California to work for his Uncle Frank, plastering buildings. In 1956, he entered pilot training as an aviation cadet in Texas and began an affair that defined him. Dick was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant Dec. 5, 1957 and was designated as a U.S. Air Force pilot. After completing follow-on helicopter and survival training, he reported to his first assignment flying H19 helicopters in Japan. On his very first mission, Dick flew nearly 48 hours straight rescuing 166 Japanese citizens from a flood earning him his first Distinguished Flying Cross and personal recognition from the Emperor of Japan. After telling that story hundreds of times at the Officer's Club, he returned to serve as the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol Liaison, where he met and married his first wife, Katrinka Bly. His military career continued for another decade with over 1,052 combat hours in Vietnam as well as a search and rescue tour in Alaska and missile silo missions in Montana. Dick ended his 22-year military career in 1973, accumulating 8,500 flight hours in 34 different types of helicopters and airplanes. Although a combat veteran of two wars, Dick was most proud of the 30 peace-time helicopter rescue missions he conducted saving some 300 lives.

Dick started his second career as the lead Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor in 1976 at Fargo North High School, where he served for 17 years. Known as "The Maj," Dick received dozens of national outstanding instructor awards and was beloved by the students. Always giving, he could consistently be found lending an ear to young students in distress. However, he was an exacting inspector who was feared during Thursday uniform inspections! His color guard marched with precision and brought great honor to thousands of events. During his JROTC conclusion, he was inducted in 2003 to the Fargo North High School Hall of Fame.

After a short teaching stint in Misawa, Japan, Dick wed his second wife, Kathy Fenno and settled in Oakes, ND, for the last 23 years. A staple of the Oakes community, Dick could be seen everywhere and heard even farther. He was a substitute teacher who was loved for how he could be coaxed off task. (Little did they know they were learning more about life than any school lesson.) He also volunteered as a bartender at the golf course for lady's night, coordinated the American Legion baseball program, spearheaded the revival of the Veteran's Day celebrations, helped fundraise for the new hospital, led annual Boy Scout camping trips, tutored for the geography bee and remained the most fanatical Oakes wrestling fan to ever help with the Potato Harvest. Many Oakes Folks would smile when Dick would come in a room with a big "Whoo-hoo" and give bear hugs, whether wanted or not.

Dick will be remembered for his generosity, unpretentiousness, huge heart, loving spirit, ferocious appetite, gluten-reactions, humble service, unwavering loyalty, and zest for life.

Richard is survived by his wife Kathy Fenno Bourne. Children: Toni Rivas (Juan, Raymondville, TX - Francisca & Abbie Anna), Brett Bourne (Catrin, Swansboro, NC- Carl & Charlotte), Kristina Bourne (Tim Valentine, Duluth, MN - Daley & Finley). Roberta Charpentier (Marti, Chamberlin MN- Rachel, (Zach) Hannah, Daniel), Kris Carlson (Todd, Pelican Rapids MN- Cole & Rhett), Robert Fenno (Renelle, Fargo, ND - Zachary, Alexis, & Andrea), Kim Schmit (Doug, Oakes, ND- Ellie (Ethan), Robert & Christopher), Rich Fenno (Kelly, Fargo, ND - Ty). Siblings: Wayne (Mary) Bourne, Russell (Betty) Bourne, and Margaret Bourne.

Richard was predeceased by his parents, Son: Ron (Mel-Battle Lake, MN Jessica & Jacob) Fenno, Siblings: David Bourne, Roberta Doyle, Francis Bourne, Kenneth Bourne, Patricia Martin, Barbara Wylie, Bruce Bourne, and Winifred Bourne.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to the memorial scholarship fund being set up at Oakes High School, 804 Main Ave, Oakes, ND 58474. Memories may be shared and viewed online at

Burial information: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

This information was last updated 12/24/2016

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Date posted on this site: 06/15/2024

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