1929 – 2015

FARMINGTON — Rodney C. Richard Sr., one of Maine’s finest traditional artists, died on Tuesday, April 14, in Farmington, surrounded by his loving family.

He was born on Nov. 13, 1929, to William and Abbie (Calden) Richard of Phillips and dedicated his life to his family and to the preservation of his logging heritage in western Maine.

After graduation from Phillips High School in 1948, he worked in the woods with his father. He entered the United States Army in 1951 and served in the United States and Germany. He took leave to marry his sweetheart, Lucille Haley, on Sept. 20, 1951, in Rangeley.

After his Army service, he worked in the woods, at first, with horses, and also drove a truck and graveled roads. He retired in 1990.

In 1979, with a group of friends, relatives and fellow loggers, he founded the Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum.

Rodney learned to carve from his father and went on to carve everything he was asked to, with both jackknife and chain saw. Maine black bears were his specialty. His carvings are landmarks — especially his “Bear Chasing a Man up a Tree” on the tree in the yard of his family’s home, and his “Minuteman” in the National Guard Armory in Asheville, N.C. Over 30,000 people have one of his trademark “bunnies,” hand-carved rabbits about one half-inch in size.

He was invited to carve at folk festivals from Maine to Washington State, as well as in Russia. His work has appeared in museums all along the East Coast, as well as many European countries. Among his many awards is the Marshall Dodge Traditional Artist Award.

A generous citizen, he founded the Mad Whittler Scholarship, led Boy Scout Troop No. 579 and visited classrooms from Maine to Virginia. Rodney was an avid downhill skier and a passionate golfer. He spent many happy days fishing, hunting and camping, and loved to visit with friends over games of bingo and cribbage.

He is survived by his sons: Rodney C. Richard Jr. and his wife, Lenita, of Pownal; John Richard of Rangeley; and Stephen Richard and his companion, Mary Garboski, of Rangeley; his brother, Lewis Richard, and his sister, Winona (Richard) Davenport, both of Phillips; and his sister-in-law, Jennie (McLafferty) Richard of Mexico; and his many close friends.

Rodney was predeceased by his wife of 55 years, Lucille (Haley) Richard; and by his brothers, Allan Richard and Mortimer Richard.

Tributes and condolences may be shared by visiting www.wilesrc.com.

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