FARMINGTON — Robert Philander Richards, 88, of Farmington, formerly of Winchester, Mass., died at his home in Farmington of pancreatic cancer on Jan. 5.
Bob Richards was born Nov. 22, 1924, in Farmington, the son of Albert Dodge Richards and Nellie Booker Richards. He was the eldest of their six children and brother to Albert, Shirley, Patricia, John and Alonzo.
Due to his father’s job transfers, he attended 22 schools, all in New England before graduation from Farmington High School in 1942. Bob served in the 5th Army Air Corps during World War II in the Philippines, Luzon and Japan.
He attended Tufts University prior to the war and completed his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at the University of Maine in Orono in 1950.
He married Patricia Fair Murray of Farmington in 1950, and together they raised five children, Robert Jr., Virginia, Elizabeth, Katherine and Patricia. Bob and Pat shared a loving partnership for 46 years before her death in 1996. Bob worked for Forster Manufacturing Co. in Wilton, for 14 years, rising to regional sales manager and traveling the eastern half of the country by train three weeks out of every month selling specialty wood products.
He was very active in Farmington in the Masons and was a member of Kora Temple Shrine. In 1963, he moved his family to Winchester, Mass., and established Howard and Richards Inc., a food brokerage firm which he ran successfully until 2004, when he retired at the age of 80, moving back to his hometown of Farmington.
Bob will be remembered by his family and friends with a halo of smoke from his ever present pipe, a wry smile and teasing side comment to any conversation. He loved sitting on his porch at Clearwater Lake and watching the sun on the water and the sailboat at the mooring.
He had a love of reading and learning, and an amazing knowledge of geography and nature. His free time was spent puttering at home or at camp, sailing, skiing, traveling and laughing with friends. He was also a fierce bridge player. Friday nights at Clearwater Lake were a standing invitation to the “Bob-watch,” waiting for his arrival when he drove to the Lake right from his office in Wakefield, Mass., to spend each summer weekend with friends and family.
He is survived by his four daughters, Virginia Fair Richards-Taylor of Lyndeboro, N.H., Elizabeth Richards Julian of Farmington, Katherine Richards of Taunton, Mass., and Patricia Kawa of Sandown, N.H.; his siblings, Patricia Richards Campbell of Littleton, N.H., and Alonzo Booker Richards of Orono; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his wife, Patricia Murray Richards; his son, Robert Philander Richards Jr.; and his siblings, Albert Dewey Richards, Shirley Richards Roberts, and John Whitfield Richards.