Philip Retelle, 96, a longtime resident of Andover, MA, passed away at his home, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, surrounded by his children.
Philip was born in Lawrence, MA, the eldest son of Albert J. and Alice G. (Kayley) Retelle. He attended St. Patrick’s School and was a 1942 graduate of Lawrence High School. As a teenager, he worked in the Lawrence woolen mills with both of his grandfathers, aunts, and uncles. He was very proud of his Lawrence heritage and enjoyed sharing many stories of his childhood. Philip enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943 and served as a radio specialist and tail gunner in a Martin PBM Mariner. After the war, he worked in construction, building both the Maine Turnpike and Logan International Airport, before earning an Associate’s Degree in Aircraft and Powerplant from New England Aircraft School. Upon graduation, he was employed at Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, KS, and went on to work in Texas, then Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, CT, before taking a job as an aircraft mechanic for the Department of the Air Force at L.G. Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA. He joined the Air Force Reserve, later becoming a flight engineer, which took him to many exotic destinations around the world, serving nearly thirty years. Later, he became a Quality Assurance Specialist, working for the Department of Defense, inspecting jet engines for the Navy.
Phil was a loving husband, wonderful father, grandfather, and father-in-law, who loved spending time with his large extended family. He had a great sense of humor and an easygoing way about him. His favorite saying being “not to worry.” Phil enjoyed an extensive range of music and was a smooth, charismatic dancer, continuing to dance several nights a week until the Covid shutdown last year. He was a skilled 45s player, playing with family and relatives as well as at the Senior Center in Derry. Philip was a keen hunter, spending many seasons hunting with his nephews. He loved the beach and treasured the yearly vacations with family on Anna Maria Island. He also cherished the time spent at the beloved family camp on Little Island Pond. Phil was very proud of the home he built overlooking Baker’s Meadow and loved sitting on his deck and watching birds and squirrels on his many bird feeders.
He was predeceased by his loving wife of 52 years, Helen M. (Glover) Retelle.
He is survived by daughters, Kim and her husband, Jon Glesmann of Andover; Cindy and her husband, Doug Girard of Kingston, NH; sons, Kevin Retelle and his wife Jola of Andover; and Philip J. Retelle and his wife, Cathy S. Wenzel of Elkton, VA; grandchildren, Chelsea and Ryan Girard, Kurt and Nicole Glesmann, and Jillian and Justin Wenzel. He is also survived by his sister, Margie Maginnis, many cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as close friend, Carolinda Campbell.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend visitation hours on Friday June 18, 2021 between the hours of 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Cataudella Funeral Home, 126 Pleasant Valley Street, Methuen. Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lazarus House, PO Box 408, Lawrence, MA 01842.