Richard (Dick) Wentworth Moulton, Sr., passed away peacefully at home in Vero Beach on March 19, 2016. Born in Providence, RI, on July 25, 1925, the son of David and Evelyn Moulton, he was raised in Melrose, MA, and attended Williston Academy in Easthampton, MA.
In 1942, 17-year-old Dick Moulton enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and became a nose gunner on a B-24 with the 758th Bomb Squadron, 459th Bomb Group in the 15th Air Force. He was shot down over the Hungary/Slovakia border on his second mission. Although claimed by Slovak troops, a Hungarian guard took his dog tags, which later deprived him of protection as an American citizen and nearly cost him his life.
When the Slovak troops released their American prisoners to protect them from incoming Germans, Dick survived two-and-a-half months hiding in a cave and a terrifying re-capture by the Germans, who sent him to the Gestapo believing he was a Russian spy (his dog tags were missing). He endured torture and death threats before transfer to a German POW camp, and was later liberated by General Patton’s 3rd Army. He received four Purple Hearts and was asked to give an extensive deposition at the Nuremberg Trials.
On the 50th anniversary of his release, a Slovak editor called and asked for his survival story. This led to Dick’s autobiography, Tail End Charlie in Ole #605. In 2008, Dick was a featured speaker at the POW-MIA monument’s dedication in Memorial Island and spoke again in 2012 on POW-MIA Day. He was presented with an Honorary Membership in the Veterans Council of Indian River County. In both talks, he noted that every survivor behind enemy lines has their own story. He could only tell his experience.
In 1946, Dick married Virginia Nodine and the couple lived on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, from which he graduated in 1949. He was a member of Alpha Delta Phi and the Dragon Senior Society. He also studied banking at the University of Wisconsin prior to his 20-year career that began in Boston at a prestigious investment firm. In the mid-1950s, he returned to Hanover to head the trust department at Dartmouth National Bank until, in 1963, he was named president of the Ashuelot National Bank Of Keene. Several years later, the growing family moved to Shelburne, VT, where Dick changed directions to manage a friend’s lumber company. He was a charter member and treasurer of the Shelburne Rotary Club and a member of the Ethan Allen Club in nearby Burlington.
When they moved to Vero Beach in 1973, Richard represented a New York-based lumber company, but within the year he partnered with a Dartmouth friend in an imported tile firm, Design Habitat on Beachland Boulevard, eventually becoming the sole owner. In 1995, he retired to enjoy tennis and travel, including a trip back to Slovakia. In 2004, he was invited to Slovakia by the American Embassy to give his account of the Slovak resistance and the American contribution to the war effort. He was honored in Banská Bystrica with Slovakia’s Freedom Medal and his book and picture were added to the Museum of Slovak National Uprising.
Dick was a member of Christ By The Sea United Methodist Church, the Sons of the American Revolution, a former member of the Vero Beach Yacht Club, and a 28-year charter member of The Moorings Club. He had served as president of the Indian River Urostomy Association, treasurer of the Treasure Coast Jazz Society and president of the Dartmouth Club of the Treasure Coast.
Dick Moulton is survived by his wife of nearly 70 years, Virginia N. Moulton; two sons, Richard W. Moulton Jr. (Melinda) of Huntington, VT, and David N. Moulton (Elizabeth) of Vero Beach; three grandchildren, Richard W. Moulton III (Colleen) and Mariah Moulton Riggs (Josh) of VT, and Nathaniel D. Moulton of Vero Beach; four great-grandchildren of VT; a sister, Marjorie Moulton Fallon (Lewis) of Winter Park, FL; and several nieces and nephews.