Leo James Kerivan, Pilot – Inventor -- Engineer -- Touchdown May 28, 1923 -- Take-off July 17, 2018, age 95
Dad was born and raised in Wellesley, MA. Graduate of Wellesley High School Class of 1941, and various engineering degrees from Northeastern University. He married his wife Cynthia in 1947. They had six children, followed by 15 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. They were happily married for 66 years until Cynthia’s death in 2013.
Mom and Dad lived in Wellesley until 1984 when they achieved a long awaited dream of designing and building their dream home on the water in Somerset, MA. Leo most recently lived at Linden Ponds in Hingham, MA
Dad was a World War II fighter pilot with the Fighting VF-88 “gamecocks” squadron flying off the Monterey and the Yorktown in the Pacific Theatre. He earned his wings at Pensacola on June 4th, 1941 and was roaring a hellcat off a carrier within a few weeks of high school graduation. He received the Bronze Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in combat. He came home without a scratch.
During the 1950’s he flew for TWA on the Buffalo to Boston route which followed route 9 from the New York boarder over Wellesley to Logan Airport in Boston. Dad lived his life like every Navy pilot landing on the short runways at Logan, he always hit “grabbed (hit) the first line”. The approach to Logan airport from the west was along the lights of route 9 and was identified on the maps at Logan in purple. The approach was called “Purple 9”. Mom had a radio in the kitchen to listen to the air traffic. When Dad was over Wellesley he called out “TWA Flight ##, on Purple 9 to Logan… then Purple 9, Purple 9, Purple 9”. The extra purple 9’s was Mom’s sign to get in the car, and meet dad on the curb at Logan, and for my older brother and sisters to go outside and look up. An inventor, Dad hold numerous patents in the US and Japan. Many of the patens involve parts or process of things you probably use every day.
If you grew up in Wellesley and played hockey, you are still probably beating the various defensemen of life by “snapping your toes”. Our family will gather on the beach where family reunions and fiercely competitive wiffleball games were celebrated year after year to spread Leo’s ashes with Cynthia’s later this summer.
Dad’s life personified the American dream, his children and their children are far better off than his was. His life and spirit carried out the message of 1st Corinthians, his love was always patient, his love was always kind, never demanding, boastful or proud, his love never gave up, it never lost faith. He loved to talk of the planes and the ships of World War II, he never spoke ill of the Japanese. Six very different children tried him in different ways, he loved us just the same, no matter what. He always showed up when we needed him.
Donations can be made to the Linden Ponds Resident Care fund, 300 Linden Ponds Way, Hingham, MA 02043.
To Mom, wherever you are out there…. Purple 9, Purple 9 Purple 9…..