Obituary of Philip G. Richards

Philip G. Richards

December 1, 1933 -- September 5, 2004

Hampton Union, Friday, September 10, 2004

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine - Philip G."Phil" Richards , 70, died Sunday, Sept. 5, 2004, at his home.

He was born Dec. 1, 1933, in Calais, Maine, the son of the late Fred and Dora (McLain) Richards and was raised in Princeton, Maine.

He was a 1951 graduate of Princeton High School. He received his bachelor of arts degree in public management in 1958 from the University of Maine, Orono, and his master's degree in public administration in 1971 as a member of the first graduating class in that field of study.

Mr. Richard's career in public administration spanned 35 years and included town manager, Mount Desert, Maine; city manager, Gardiner, Maine; public administration specialist, Maine Municipal Association, Hallowell, Maine; city manager, Lebanon; town manager, Dexter, Maine; and town manager, Hampton, N.H., for 13 years. He retired in 1993 and was recognized for his service to the community, his ability to work with the Board of Selectman and his ongoing support of town of Hampton employees. He was an outstanding public servant as evidenced by his active participation in numerous civic organizations in each community he managed. In 2002 he moved to Dover-Foxcroft.

He was an avid deer hunter and a dedicated "Harley Man" and traveled many miles. While living in Hampton he loved being on the ocean pulling his lobster traps. As a child he spent summers at the family cottage "Twilight" on Big Lake in Plantation 21 and through the years spent many hours fishing there.

He was a talented artist who taught art classes, designed magazine covers for the Maine Townsman, decorated cakes with his drawings and painted Maine landscapes.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Norma (Barnard) Richards; two sons and one daughter-in-law, Jeff and Lynne Richards and Tim Richards; one daughter and her husband, Cheri and Peter Snow; six grandchildren; one brother Ralph Richards; one sister Rita Furbish; and four nephews.

Graveside services will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. in Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, Maine, followed by a celebration of his life at camp "Twilight" on Big Lake.

Arrangements are by the Kincer Funeral Home, Richmond. Maine.

To sign an online guest book, visit www.kincerfuneralhome.com.


Former Town Manager Dies At 70

Philip G. Richards

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, September 10, 2004

HAMPTON - Some people remember him as one of the "best town managers the town ever had."

Others recall him fondly after he retired, wearing a leather jacket and riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle with his pony tail waving in the wind.

Former Town Manager Philip G. Richards died Sunday night at the age of 70 at his home in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.

As news of his death spread around town, local officials expressed sorrow for a man they said was "one of a kind."

He served the town from 1980 to 1993. He lived on Drakeside Road until he moved in 2002.

Former Selectman Vic Lessard said he was on the board when Richards was hired.

"He was the best town manager this town ever had," said Lessard. "I never once heard him say a bad word to anyone."

Lessard said Richards' style was very different from that of past town managers.

"Phil was not a heavy dresser," Lessard said. "He was not a suit man but he always wore a tie to work. He never had to dress up because everyone took him as he came."

Department of Public Works director John Hangen, who worked under Richards for 13 years, said he admired and respected him.

"He was a good leader for the town and had a positive influence on the town," said Hangen.

"We all have different styles. He was laid-back but had a good sense of humor. It would take a lot for someone to provoke him. He was the type of person that would allow other people to shine while he stepped out of the limelight."

Selectman William "Skip" Sullivan said he will always be grateful to Richards, who hired him as fire chief in July 1987.

"I'm very appreciative that he gave me the chance and had confidence in me," Sullivan said. "I enjoyed working for him. He never demanded anything from you that he wouldn't do himself."

"He was the type of guy you would want as your next-door neighbor," said Hampton Police Chief Bill Wrenn.

When Richards retired in 1993, he was honored for his service to the community, his ability to work with selectmen and his ongoing support of the employees in town.

"If he didn't like something he would say it," Lessard said. "But he was always a gentleman about it."

"Phil was a low-key, easygoing person," said former Selectman Mary-Louise Woolsey. "He was one of those people who would sit back and let issues resolve themselves and they usually did. He was just a kind, decent man."

Tom Gillick, who was also a selectman during Richards' tenure, referred to him as a "free spirit" and dedicated "Harley man."

"The thing that sticks out in my head about Phil was that he was a motorcycle guy," said Gillick. "I remember he and his wife rode cross country on their motorcycle to see a country music show. That just boggled my mind. He was total free spirit."

When he wasn't working, Richards spent his time with his family and friends.

"His wife, Norma, was his right hand," Lessard said. "The two did everything together."

Richards enjoyed painting, fishing and hunting. When he lived in Hampton, he loved being on the ocean, pulling lobster traps.

"He was one of the best guys I ever knew," said Jack Furbush, who worked at the Department of Public Works during Richards' tenure. "He was like a brother to me."

The two became best friends and often went fishing and hunting together.

Richards was born in Calais on Dec. 1, 1933. He was the son of the late Fred and Dora Richards.

After graduating from Princeton High School in 1951, Richards enlisted in the Marine Corps.

He served three years in the Korean War and attained the rank of sergeant.

Richards graduated from University of Maine.

Besides his wife, Norma, he leaves three children, Jeff, Tim and Cheri.

Family and friends will say their final goodbye to Richards during a memorial service in Maine on Saturday.

Several officials said they envision Richards on his motorcycle now riding into the sunset.