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Richard J. Testrake, age 78, of Erie, passed away Sunday, April 16, 2017 at St. Vincent Hospital ER after years of declining health. Born September 14, 1938 in Ripley, NY he was the youngest son of the late Frank J. and Mildred (Kofoed) Testrake.
Richard graduated from Strong Vincent High School and then joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in June of 1957. By the spring of 1958 he joined the U.S. Army and became a member of the “Old Guard” which escorted the President. He was also an air traffic controller in Korea for some time before being discharged in 1963. During his time in Korea, he and his wife adopted their daughter Lisa and at the time were the youngest couple in U.S. Immigration history to adopt and bring back a child from Korea.
He worked at General Electric for 37 and a half years as a welder. In retirement, Richard was a novelist of historical fiction tales set during the Napoleonic Wars. He volunteered at the both the VA Medical Center and the Erie Public Library. Richard was a life member of the Old Guard Association, the GE retiree’s association, and Friends of the Erie County Library.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his two brothers, John Testrake who was the Captain aboard the hijacked TWA flight 847 in 1985 and Harry Roger Testrake; and a sister, Faith Testrake.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Peggy L. (Dininny) Testrake; a daughter, Lisa Kriebel, husband Michael, of Philadelphia; a son, Charles Testrake, a career Coast Guardsman; three grandchildren, Sean, wife Christie, Kathleen Carmichael, husband Johnny, and Erin Deckman; and three great grandchildren, Adam, Alli, and Isabel.
Friends may call on Thursday from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, 1595 West 38th St. at Greengarden Blvd. Services will be held there on Friday at 10:30 a.m. with Rev. Michael Ferrick officiating. Burial will follow in Trinity Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Old Guard Association, P.O. Box 1785. Fort Myer, VA 22211-1785.