Life-long South Lynnfield resident Dick Weeks passed away on the evening of December 21st, 2020. Dick was known for his many accomplishments as a local athlete, particularly in ice hockey and road running. Dick was also a Korean War veteran and participated in the Lynnfield Memorial Day parade and Veterans Day commemorations in some capacity for more than 75 years. Dick was married to Lee Melody (nee Hadsall) Weeks (d. 2005). Dick and Lee were the parents of five children. Dick was predeceased by two children: Pammy Lee Weeks (d. 1966) and Jim Weeks (d. 2003) and survived by Richard (Rick) Weeks Jr. his wife Silvina, and their kids Drew, Stevie, April, and Caroline of Portsmouth NH; Dave Weeks his wife Karen and daughter Kaleigh of Lynnfield; and Carrie Weeks Rennie and her husband Tim of Merrimac, MA.
Dick was likely one of the few people in town who was actually born and lived his whole life in South Lynnfield, save for his two years' service in Korean during the conflict there in the early 1950s. Born at 66 Grove Street (which is now gone via Rte. 128 expansion) young Dickie and his 5 siblings - brothers Ed and Harold(Boy) and sisters Irene, Marion, and Shirley - spent their childhood years down at Suntaug Park (now known as Newhall Park) and adjoining Suntaug Lake. Growing up in the Great Depression and War Years, Dick and the other South Lynnfield kids played sports at the park nearly every day. Dick learning to play baseball and tennis at the park and taught himself to skate on Suntaug Lake in the winter months. He and his brothers delivered newspapers, worked odd jobs, and participated in the yearly 4th of July Suntaug "bonfires" as well as marched as Boy Scouts in the Memorial Day parades. Dick attended the old Lynnfield South School (now the South Lynnfield Firehouse) and later went to the Centre School on Main Street before heading off to Wakefield High School. Dick transferred to Lynn English with his sister Irene for his last two years of high school then went to work for the Lynnfield Water Department upon graduation in 1948. With the outbreak of the Korean War, brothers Ed and Harold were called up to service first and Dick went to Korea to serve in 1953 after his brother's return.
Dick recalls his boxing matches on the 21-day troop ship trip over to Japan and his playing baseball and running track in the national stadiums in Tokyo and Seoul for the 8th Army teams. Since the armistice had already been signed when he arrived, his duties were mainly concerned with transport and planting of trees. On return from service in Korea, Dick took a job in Lynn with the Massachusetts Gas and Electric company and would stay with them for more than 40 years.
But it was with sports that Dick would find his life-long passion and make his mark in local New England sports history. In the early 50s, Dick and his brothers played for the Lynnfield Knights hockey team down at the (then) new Lynn Area on Boston Street in Lynn. With older brother Ed anchoring the goal position, Dick, and younger brother Harold, along with Lynnfield's Pyburn brothers, became quite the team to play against in Massachusetts amateur hockey. Dick loved hockey with his gloves on - and off! Dick also used his skating and hockey talents to train Lynn's first group of hockey players, both as an assistant coach to Lynn English's head coach Red Foote, to running hockey schools in the North Shore to teach the game to another generation of youngsters. Dick also was a long-time hockey referee. Many North Shore players can remember getting put in the "sin bin" from a call made by Dick!
In the late '50s and early '60s Dick was invited to play for the Waterville Exchange Bruins, a semi-pro hockey team based in Waterville, Maine. He played at Colby Arena with Lynn hockey greats John Marsh and Tippy Johnson. He earned the nickname "Smiley Weeks" to Waterville fans, who liked to see him flash his signature smile after a big game win on the ice! In 1960 the Waterville Bruins played the Swiss National Team and a couple other European teams to "soften them up" for our famed 1960 Olympic Gold Medal team! In the '70s through the early '90s he played locally with the Woodies Pro Shop team in the fast Senior 40+ league in Peabody where they "hoisted the cup" for many, many years. After that, Dick's pick-up hockey games down at Saugus' Hockey Town would continue to the ripe old age of 87, when he finally "hung up the blades" after having played for more than 70 years!
In the early 50's, Dick also started his road running passion. From that time through the early-80s Dick was a force out on the race circuit. In the '50s and '60s, he ran for the Lynn A.C. at the BAA Boston Marathon 9 times and one year finished 30th (2:48 his best time). He also was well known as the original winner of the first few Lynnfield Fourth of July LAA road races. But his best race probably came at the New England Championship in 1961. That year, The Lynn Wyoma Merchants Association held their annual 30km road race in Lynn. Dick won the race in 1960. In '61 race he led the race until the last 100 yards and was beaten out by Wakefield's Al Confalone, who had placed 4th in the Marathon at the 1959 Chicago Pan American Games. Dick ran the entire 30km race at a better than 5:30 per mile pace! For a guy known as hockey talent, and weighing in at more than 180lbs, competing with Olympic-level runners was extremely rare - for him it was just another challenge for his passion of sports competition!
In 1962 Dick married his long-time Lynnfield Center sweetheart Lee Hadsall. They bought a house in Lynnfield on Summer Street and brought up a family. Both Dick and Lee loved to travel. They brought along their kids for every trip. Over the years, through various station wagon road trips, the Weeks "Gypsies" managed to cover the "Lower 48" states and see countless cities and parks. Dick on one trip hiked down and up the Grand Canyon with just a can of Coke - at 63 years young! Dick and Lee later took the "gang" across the world on their journeys to Europe, Egypt, Israel, China, and South America. With married life, Dick added tennis to his resume. He played thousands of sets tennis with his great friend and rival Lenny Guimond down at Suntaug. Dick loved to go all day in the hot sun with nothing to drink to help vanquish his opponents. One memorable time at the courts was in the late '70s when Dick battle was with LHS's own Craig Stone for the Lynnfield Tournament final - Dick came up short on that one!
Once the '90s arrived, Dick added bike riding to his sports resume. He was a frequent participant in Lynnfield's "Reid Ride" Charity event and yearly rode his very own "Cape-to-Cape" 165 mile 2-day challenge ride with his sons that went from Lynnfield to Provincetown, then by ferry to Gloucester and back to Lynnfield as a "workout".
After Lee passed away, Dick's passion turned to training and overseeing yet another generation of "Weeksies." Dick loved to go to every sport and cultural event that his grandkids did. Grandkids Andrew, Steven, April, Kaleigh, and Caroline kept him busy, on the road, and happy as they performed and competed just as he had done.
For anyone who met him, Dick was an unforgettable character well known by several generations of "sportsters" throughout Lynnfield and the North Shore. His many, many stories will keep his memory and smile alive. He lived life to its fullest, always on his own terms. Dick always loved to be playing into "overtime" and he certainly got his wish! Dick was fond of saying: "Conditioning is Everything!" and he lived by that creed! "The Old Warrior" will be sorely miss and fondly remembered for years to come.