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Obituary: Father John Regan, longtime Air Force chaplain, at 84


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A Boston priest who has served the United States Air Force in varying capacities since 1959 died in Arizona on Oct. 13. Father John Regan was a member of the ordination class of 1948. A Haverhill native he had served outside the archdiocese since his entrance into the Air Force chaplains corps.

Archbishop Richard Cushing ordained him to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 6, 1948. During the next 11 years he served in seven archdiocesan parishes: St. Mary, Randolph; St. Joseph, Wakefield; St. Luke, Belmont; St. Joseph, Pepperell; St. Thomas of Villanova, Wilmington; St. Leo, Dorchester; and St. Patrick, Lawrence.

Having received permission to enter the Air Force Chaplains Corps, Father Regan began a more than 20-year career of active duty serving those in Air Force Blue across the country and across the globe. His Air Force assignments were Chennault AFB, La.; Lackland AFB, Texas; Peshawar Air Base, Pakistan; Pease AFB, N.H.; Albrook, Panama Canal Zone; George AFB, Calif.; Ubon Royal Thai Air Base; Thailand; Castle AFB, Calif.; Hickham, AFB, Hawaii; Barksdale AFB, La.; Irakilon, Greece.

It is obvious from his almost five decades of service -- both active and ‘‘on contract’’ -- to the Air Force that Father Regan’s second love, after the priesthood, was the women and men in Air Force Blue. His varied assignments gave rise the observation “that he was a hard man to keep track of” yet he was ready to serve.

Father Regan retired from active service on June 30, 1979. In 1979 he was granted Lend Lease status from the archdiocese and he served for more than 21 years in the Diocese of Phoenix, Ariz. He was granted senior priest/retirement on May 8, 1998. He continued to reside in Arizona and up to his recent death, assisted at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz. as a contract chaplain.

Father Regan’s Funeral Mass was celebrated on Oct. 20 at the Base Chapel at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz. Interment was at the family lot at St. James Cemetery, Haverhill.

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