Major Richard Clark Tarr (U.S. Army Retired)

Major Richard Clark Tarr (U.S. Army Ret.), 80, passed away on Tuesday, October 4, 2022. He was a native of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and a resident of Yorktown, Virginia for the past 27 years. Richard retired from the U.S. Army with 21 years of service as an Army Aviator.

Richard was a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Associations, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Officers Association of America, American Legion, Old Dominion Meet Association, and Historic Virginia Peninsula Region Antique Car Club.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Richard Wonson Tarr and Helen Marjorie Tarr, both of Massachusetts. Richard is survived by his wife, Elaine Joan Tarr; son, Richard Paul Tarr; daughter, Tracy Fiore; four grandchildren, Dominic, Olivia, Jordan and Richard “Jake”; one great-granddaughter, Brynlee; one sister, Marjorie Spinney and husband Pete; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, October 8 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Peninsula Funeral Home, with a funeral service following 3:30 p.m. Burial will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. at Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery, 5310 Milners Rd, Suffolk, VA 23434.

Expressions of sympathy may take the form of live plants that can be enjoyed over time by the family (please do not send cut flowers, as these will wilt before the interment can take place); or donations may be made in Richard’s name to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC (, the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot’s Association (, the VFW ( or the DAV ( 

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.


Major Richard C. Tarr, USA (Retired) Flights Class 1966-14A3

Major Richard Tarr took his final flight to be with the Lord on October 4, 2022 at the age of 80.  He was born May 20, 1942 in Gloucester Massachusetts. He attended Gloucester High School and joined the ROTC working his way up to be the Colonel graduating with full honors. Richard was awarded the certificate of Eagle Scout March 4, 1958 in which he accomplished with hard work and the help of his father who was Chapter 45’s Scoutmaster for over 10 years.

Richard’s love for people and saving lives was obvious while working as head lifeguard over 5 years as a teenager in his hometown. He saved many lives during this time and even delivered a baby!

Richard’s love for aviation started early in his life when he used to see the marshes being sprayed with small helicopters. He made a vow that flying was what he wanted to do in life.

Richard went to Boston University and with a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering and completing half of his doctorate degree.

Upon joining the Army in 1964 and serving 2 years in Vietnam, Major Tarr was shot down twice and survived. He luckily had minor injuries. He never wanted to be awarded a Purple Heart saying his copilot and other crew members deserved it more.

Major Tarr continued his career in the Army at many duty stations. He moved 21 times in 21 years. One year he had 4 different addresses.

Major Tarr was selected to attend the Navy Test Pilot School and graduated 2nd in his class.  He also applied to the NASA space Program-he was selected as 2nd in line to be the first Astronaut for the Army.

He served at Edwards AFB testing numerous aircraft and was rated in 37 different aircraft.

Richard met and married the love of his life, Elaine, in 1979. They moved to Panama shortly after marrying.

Richard next assignment was to VA to serve at Fort Eustis in 1981 where he was assigned to Aviation Test Laboratory.  Major Richard Tarr retired in 1985. He received multiple awards and accolades during his Army career.

Richard enjoyed his many years of retirement. He obtained his Captain’s license to move boats up and down the intra-coastal waterways on the East Coast to help people who did not have the knowledge of boating. He enjoyed many boating trips with friends including a big boating trip to Canada’s waterways.

Richard was on multiple committees: antique car clubs, retirement communities, and many local organizations. Richard was an advocate for retirees at Fort Eustis-he was the patient advisory board for McDonald Army Health Center at Fort Eustis and on the Fort Eustis Commissary committee.

Richard loved maintaining his beautiful Yorktown home and gardening along Elaine’s side. Richard and Elaine bought their dream home in 2004.

One of his favorite things in life was playing Santa Claus along with wife as Mrs. Claus for over 45 years. He Adored children. He always volunteered his service as Santa Claus for military families to spread love and joy.

Just like any Santa Claus, Richard had an insatiable appetite especially for donuts, brownies, birch beer, lobster, and Indian pudding.

Richard loved life. He never met a person that was not a friend. He never missed an opportunity to help anyone in need. He always had a wonderful sense of humor and could make anyone laugh.

There are numerous accounts of his contributions and love from the many people that he has met in his lifetime. His impact on people’s lives will be legendary


  1. ;Jack Shepherd

    He was a good neighbor and a pleasant person to talk with when walked our dog. When our young grandsons were visiting here one Christmas, he dressed as Santa and made a house call here! A jovial Santa. He, Elaine, and Dorothy took good care of the yard and landscaping. I will miss seeing him riding on his lawnmower, cutting the grass and using the grabber to pick up trash.

  2. David & Joan Taylor

    We also appreciated Dick and Elaine as good neighbors. They were welcoming when we moved here and it was interesting to talk with Dick about the history of the area. He was also helpful with commissary issues. He is missed.

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