Richard “Dickie” Powers, former editor of the Revere Journal, died Monday following a courageous battle against cancer. He was 75.
Mr. Powers became one of the city’s most powerful voices on local news and politics. Readers looked forward each week to his commentary and opinions.
During his reign as editor of The Journal, Mr. Powers often visited his friend Peter Palladino at City Hall Pharmacy (later City Hall Variety) store where he would hold court with other prominent Revere residents and discuss the issues affecting the city.
David Procopio, who succeeded Mr. Powers as editor of the Revere Journal, said of his former professional colleague and mentor, “Dick was an old-school newsman in all the best senses of that word. He ran the Journal in an era before the internet, before online forums, before sources of news were so diluted and decentralized. So that strong local newspaper was part of the foundation of a community and even more so, a strong editor of such a newspaper was an important fixture and influencer in that community. And that’s what Dick was. He embodied the power of the pen. People would wait every Wednesday to see what Dick said in that week’s Journal.”
“If you were a politician, a business owner, a candidate for office, a city employee. or a resident or homeowner, you paid attention to what Dick was saying, and that’s an admirable trait for a newspaper man,” lauded Procopio.
Procopio said it was Dick Powers who hired him as a reporter fresh out of Salem State University where he had graduated summa cum laude.
“I was always very grateful to Dick. He hired me for my first job out of college for the Revere Journal. And he taught me a ton about reporting, getting stories and getting it accurately and quickly. Dick taught me all of that and I owe him a great deal,” said Procopio, who has been the director of media communications director for the Massachusetts State Police for 15 years.
Councilor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto said he enjoyed reading Mr. Powers’ commentary each week in the Journal and that his opinions held a lot of influence in the community.
“Dick Powers was a legend,” said Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto. “He wielded a lot of power when he was Journal editor. He was well respected and a really good guy. I’m saddened by his loss. It’s the end of an era.”
Frederick Sannella, a former Revere school principal and School Committee member, said Mr. Powers was the best man at his wedding when he married Grace Hill Sannella in 1975.
“Dickie and I became friends in the 1960s when we played softball for the Journal team at Hill Park,” said Sannella. “We were close friends for many years. We would go out socially together with our wives. I remember a bunch of us couples, Dick Powers, Bobby Haas, Kenny Hill, and other city councillors – we took disco lessons together.”
Sannella said the anticipation of reading Dick Powers’ stories in the Journal was so great that he and others couldn’t wait until Wednesday morning to read a copy.
“On Tuesday night no matter where you were, out to dinner or a movie, you’d stop at City Hall Pharmacy where there were a couple of bundles of Revere Journals,” recalled Sannella. “You would pop the string on the bound-up newspapers and get one, even though you were getting your Journal in the mail the next day. Everyone had to read Dick’s columns or Bob-A-Longs. It was second nature. You had to see if your name had made it into the Journal that week.”
Sannella said that Mr. Powers was instrumental in promoting the annual holiday concert at Saint Anthony’s Church which continues to this day.
“We started the concerts during the Bicentennial (1976) and it’s still running nearly 50 years after,” said Sannella. “The Journal used to give us tremendous publicity for the concert. I remember one year, John Henry was the master of ceremonies, and he introduced some renowned virtuosos, and who comes trotting out on stage – Dickie Powers, Bobby Long, and myself, and we did the Toy Symphony. None of us could read music, so when the drummer pointed, you tooted or tweeted on your musical instrument.”
Speaking about his long-time friend as a revered journalist, Sannella added, “I go back to when Sidney Curtis was publisher and Bobby Long and Dick Powers were editors, and the Journal was very forceful. And I think the Journal continues to demonstrate today the responsibility of being a local newspaper that covers all aspects of the community.”
Lenny DeMaino, owner of DeMaino’s, said that Dick Powers was a patron of his popular restaurant on Malden Street, often sitting at a table with friends such as Peter Palladino, Bobby Nardone, Buster Grayson, and Barney Ferrante.
“Dick was a very nice guy. He would come to our restaurant regularly, and we had quite a number of good conversations,” said DeMaino. “His stories were entertaining and thought-provoking, both in print and in person. I’m sorry about his passing.”
State Rep. Jessica Giannino offered her sympathy on the passing of Mr. Powers.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the Revere Journal family for the passing of Richard “Dickie” Powers,” said Giannino. “His dedication to journalism and service to our community will be remembered with gratitude.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalized, but Vertuccio, Smith and Vazza Home for Funerals will handle the arrangements.