Richard Duley loved the outdoors, loved to hunt and fish, pan for gold and take his children camping when they were young.

He also loved people and loved to tell stories, according to his family.

“He had a great heart,” said his daughter, Terri Duley Simonson.

Richard Duley, in his US Navy uniform, served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War. Duley died in a fire at his home in Anson on Sunday. Contributed photo

Duley, 75, a lifelong carpenter, died Sunday in a fire at the home he grew up in on Moore Street in Anson. The home was destroyed by the fire, reported just after 10:30 a.m. Sunday, officials said.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the state Fire Marshal’s Office said the fire appeared to have started in the basement, though a cause had not been determined as of Monday, Patriot’s Day, a state holiday. Fire investigators planned to return to the scene Tuesday with a state electrical inspector.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office was to examine the body found in the home to make a positive identification Monday afternoon, according to Grimes, who said officials believe it is that of Richard Duley.

His children said Monday that their father had a bad knee from working all his life as a carpenter. Simonson, 47, said Monday that he served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam aboard the USS Kitty Hawk and had been divorced and lived alone the last couple of years. He was struggling of late with depression and other issues and had been in and out of the Togus VA Medical Center emergency room, she said, as she was traveling back to Maine from Florida, where she and her family, who live in Winthrop, had gone for vacation.

Simonson said her father’s great aunt was Carrie Stevens, of Madison, who was a fly fisher and tied flies, originating the Grey Ghost fishing fly as well as other fly fishing lures.

According to Wikipedia, Stevens, who died in 1970, created the Rangeley Favorite trout and salmon flies.

Richard Duley on a swing. Duley died in a fire at his home in Anson on Sunday. Contributed photo

“Self-taught in the art of fly tying, Stevens invented the Grey Ghost Streamer, an imitation of the SmeltOsmerus mordax,” the Wikipedia entry about Stevens says. “Stevens’ flies received national and international acclaim, and she was honored after her death with the naming of August 15, 1970, as ‘Carrie Gertrude Stevens Day’ by the Governor of Maine.”

Richard Duley enjoyed being around people. He had friends and family in the Anson and Skowhegan areas and loved to visit them and talk, according to Simonson and her brother, Troy Duley, 48, of Farmington.

“He loved to go visit people and tell stories of when he was growing up — things that happened to him,” Troy Duley said Monday. “He liked to fish; he liked to hunt; he liked to gold pan. He liked to spend a lot of time outdoors. He took us to The Forks, camping, when we were young. It was awesome. We spent many summers up there, camping and fishing.”

Simonson recalled her father loved to collect old tools and bottles. The house Duley lived in had been in the family for many years, and Simonson, Troy Duley and their brother, Tom Duley, 50, of Industry, also grew up in the house. Troy Duley said his father told him the house was moved from Starks to Anson many years ago. He recalled his father working on the house a lot.

“He was always trying to fix the house up, and he changed it around,” he said. “It had old hand-hewn timbers, so I’m sure that was dry.”

The basement of the house, he said, was just a small part, located under the living room, and had a dirt floor. The house also had a wood stove, though Simonson said she did not think her father would have been burning wood Sunday.

Troy Duley said his father, whom he last saw about a month ago, spent years working as a carpentry, building houses and garages all around the Skowhegan area, among other projects.

“He did work for a lot of people,” he said.

Richard Duley’s Facebook page says he attended Madison Area Memorial High School. His profile picture is from an old newspaper photograph of him as a child with his father, Asa Duley, with a 385-pound bear and her three cubs, which Asa Duley had shot. Another photo shows Richard Duley as a young man, wearing a U.S. Navy uniform.

A quote accompanies his photos: “Single man w/3 adult grown children on their own, which I’m also very proud of and love very much.”

Firefighters from Anson, Madison, Starks, Skowhegan, Athens, Norridgewock, New Portland and Solon responded to the fire Sunday on Moore Street, a dead-end street off Main Street.

It was the second fatal fire in Anson this year. A fire Jan. 3 on Main Street in North Anson, ruled accidental, destroyed the home of William Bloom, 63, who died in the blaze. Officials said the fire started when combustibles located too close to an electric heater caught fire and the flames spread through the large, old home.

 

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]
Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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