Shrewsbury – “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned toward the sky, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
Harriet Fuller, a licensed pilot who has flown around the world, reached the sky she longed to return to and is now in heaven. On Tuesday, July 7, 2015, Harriet’s soul took flight as she died unexpectedly at home at the young age of 93. Harriet rejoices because she is with the man she loved for over 63 years, Howard J. Fuller, who took flight and left this earth Jan. 10, 2004. Though her death saddens her family, they celebrate the long and good life she lived.
Harriet J. Ricker was born Feb. 4, 1922 in Shrewsbury, a daughter of the late Dean and Jean (Harvey) Ricker. She graduated from the former Maj. Howard W. Beal High School. Through an introduction by her brother, Fred, Harriet met Howard Fuller, a radio engineer in Worcester. She married him Sept. 26, 1940, and they raised their family in Shrewsbury.
She worked as a clerk at the Shrewsbury Public Library and later as a secretary for Howard’s business, Airway Communications.
A woman before her era, Harriet was a licensed pilot and was a member of the Women’s Pilots Association and the 99’s, where she served as director and chairman of its board of trustees. She served as director of the Amelia Earhart International Peace Forest and Museum in Topeka, Kan. She flew throughout the world, but was also known to take one of her grandkids on a plane to get an ice cream. She was a longtime member of the First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury and once played in its hand bell choir. In earlier years, she was a Girl Scout leader.
In heaven Harriet has joined her husband, Howard; their daughter, Gail Andrews; and her siblings, Fred, Donald and Howard Ricker, Mary Perry, Margaret Emery and Ann Wurster.
On earth, she leaves her children, Donna J. DiPilato and her husband Vincent of Boylston and Howard J. Fuller Jr. of Greenville, N.H.; her grandchildren who knew her always as “Greenie,” Lisa DiPilato and her husband Christopher Nicholas, Vincent DiPilato and his wife Kerry, all of Shrewsbury, Keith Andrews, and Sara Goessl and her husband Christopher, all of Beavercreek, Ohio; her great-grandchildren, Steffani, Kyle, Courtnie, Thomas, James, Brady and Logan DiPilato, and Andrew, Michael and Michelle Goessl; her great-grand-paws, Rowdy Roo and Mayhem Faith; and many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will honor and remember Harriet’s life by gathering for a calling hour Saturday, July 11, from 9-10:45 a.m., in Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors ~ The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, On the Common, Shrewsbury Center, and then walking in procession to the First Congregational Church, 19 Church Rd., where her funeral service will be celebrated at 11 a.m. The Rev. Lynne Dolan will officiate. Burial will follow in Mountain View Cemetery.
Memorials in Harriet’s name to the First Congregational Church, 19 Church Rd., Shrewsbury, MA 01545 or Worcester County Food Bank, 474 Boston Tpke., Shrewsbury, MA 01545.