Published in the March 24, 2017 edition
MELROSE — Carl “Rick” Mockler, 76, a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away unexpectedly at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital on Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Rick was born on December 28, 1940 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and was one of two sons of the late Richard Mockler and Ann L. (Hold) Mockler. He was raised in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, and following graduation from high school began his service in the United States Coast Guard. He graduated with a degree in engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1963, which began a dedicated and rewarding career in the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1967, Rick married his beloved late wife, Rebecca Copper, and they lived outside Washington, D.C. for several years where Rick was stationed. They then moved to New York City for several years, before eventually settling in Melrose in 1981 to raise their daughter, Sarah. During his career in the Coast Guard, Rick achieved the rank of captain. He was assigned as the coordinator of the Volpe Transportation System Center from 1986 until his retirement at age 50, in 1991. Following his years dedicated to the Coast Guard, Rick worked as an adjunct math professor at Bunker Hill Community College from 1992 until 2003. He also worked part time as an H&R Block tax professional from 1993 until 2015. Long after reaching retirement, Rick remained proud of his service in the Coast Guard, and continued attending events and reunions at the Coast Guard Academy. After the loss of his wife Rebecca in 2000, Rick dedicated much of his time and energy to community organizations. He was a longtime, devoted member of the First Congregational Church, the Polymnia Choral Society, Melrose Council on Aging, the Melrose Day Center Board, and was a life member of the Military Officers of America. He enjoyed taking rides in his Miata with the Mass Miata Club; providing tax advice to seniors through the Milano Senior Center; volunteering regularly at the Stone Zoo; serving as assistant treasurer for the First Congregational Church for over 20 years; and treasurer of the Wardroom Club for over 10 years. He also was a member of the American Legion Post No. 90 in Melrose, and served on the board of the Mystic Valley Elder Services. Generally reserved, Rick was a well-respected and quiet leader throughout Melrose. With a sharp mind for how things work and an interest in math and science, he was a great handyman and could fix anything. He inherited a love for gardening from Rebecca and adapted her green thumb into a love for the brightly colored flowering plant, Brugmansia, and won awards at the Boston Flower Show for his work. He collected trains, and built a backyard garden railway. He had many fond experiences traveling across the world and attending local concerts with his friend, Becky Parry. He also enjoyed spending time with his daughter, who had recently moved back to the area. Perhaps most of all, Rick enjoyed being near the water, beginning as a young man in the Coast Guard. This continued throughout his life with sailing, swimming and spending time with family and friends on Cuttyhunk Island. Rick will be remembered for his practical nature, loyalty to friends and neighbors, and as a source of strength for his family. He will be greatly missed. Rick was the beloved husband of the late Rebecca L. (Copper) Mockler, with whom he shared 32 years of marriage. He was the devoted father of Sarah E. Mockler of Melrose. He was the dear brother of David F. Mockler of Cedar Grove, New Jersey. Relatives and friends gathered in honor of Rick’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Sunday, March 19, and for his Funeral Service at the First Congregational Church, 121 W. Foster St., Melrose on Monday, March 20. Interment with military honors by the U.S. Coast Guard took place at Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose. Gifts in Rick’s memory may be made to the First Congregational Church, 121 West Foster St., Melrose MA 02176 or Zoo New England, 1 Franklin Park Rd., Boston, MA 02121. For directions or online tribute, visit RobinsonFuneralHome.com.