Richard Frederick Bastow

MANASSAS, Va. – Our beloved RFB died on August 20, 2020, in the arms of his first daughter, Susan, in her home in Manassas, Va., where he lived for the last year with her family. RFB was our Maine man, our Music Man and our cookie monster: a devoted husband to Nancy for 62 years, a cherished and engaged father, grandfather and uncle, and a mentor to well over a thousand students during his 43 years teaching Surveying, Civil Engineering and Architectural Drafting at Central Maine Community College in Auburn.

Born in Oakland, to Frank W. and Susan Strong Bastow, he grew up with his younger brother, Peter, along the banks of Messalonskee Stream. Richard and Peter were the grandsons and sons of presidents of the Cascade Woolen Mill. He graduated from Williams High School, Hebron Academy, then University of Maine Orono in 1957, later earning a masters in science from University of Southern Maine in 1975. Nancy (Dodge) and RFB married in 1958 and moved to Auburn where they raised two daughters. In 1968, they purchased land on Middle Range Pond and Richard designed and built a camp where they spent every summer. He was a long-serving member of High Street Congregational Church, and later Unity Church in Portland, a board member and set director for Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre, and a 50-year avid patron of the Brunswick Music Theatre.

Good, better, best – never let it rest. Make the good better and the better best. This is what he said (repeatedly) and also how he lived. Professionally, he proudly shepherded his program at CMCC from a one-year drafting course into a two-year fully accredited associates degree. When young women began to enroll in his department, he sought professional support for them in a male-dominated career. He personally drove the initial few and then the increasingly many women students to statewide surveyors meetings. He couldnt hide his delight when awarded honorary life membership in Maine Women in Technology. He was a charter member of the Maine Society of Land Surveyors, served as its president, and in 2004 was named Surveyor of the Year.

RFB loved knots, coins, flags and Broadway show tunes. With knots both real and figurative, he was quick to support, prop up, bolster, lash together and toss lifelines to everyone in his community. He could and often did move the immovable with simple block and tackle. He liked to work smarter, not harder and used appropriate tools to produce miraculous feats. He scaled great heights to surreptitiously paint 57 on the Stevens Hall cupola at Orono and built his grandchildren treehouses 62 feet above ground. He tied us in knots of laughter with his stories chock full of puns and mischievous antics. Did he really tie two cows tails together in high school?

He was the strong, handsome, silent type, but nearly every word he uttered carried its weight in wisdom to those tuned to his frequency. A few timely sung lines sometimes simply hummed from The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof”, “Man of La Mancha or “Unsinkable Molly Brown, quickly altered our actions, words and unchecked emotions.

He taught always by example and then embellished with song, poetry and scripture. He loved pageantry, parades, tradition and costumes. Both his daughters skied in a competition wearing an RFB-designed and built, life-sized Liberty Bell. Nothing was ever too difficult to do right. If you can survey the Auburn Airport, you can just as easily lay out a corn maze for the community Fall Fest or create a meditation labyrinth for a church. He smiled easily and often; sang with a golden-throated voice; and when he laughed, it was a rumbling, deep expression of sheer joy and appreciation.When something truly original or clever tickled him, he would shout, Custom! Humor mattered, daily.

After becoming enchanted with genealogy, RFB traced his roots deeply enough to become a life member of the Descendants of the Mayflower Society. He served as chairman of the Citizenship Committee and proudly aided newly-minted citizens at their swearing-in ceremonies – always with a big welcome and an American flag for everyone.

RFB is survived by his wife, Nancy; his daughters and sons-in-law, Susan and Carroll Weimer of Manassas, Va., and Bonnie and Gregory Kuykendall of Tucson, Ariz. and Belfast; and his grandchildren, Katherine Strong Weimer and Benjamin Bastow Weimer.

We ask that if you want to honor our man of righteous action, please make every effort to vote in November and in every election thereafter, as is your right, privilege and obligation. Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock, and the Golden Rule.

To honor RFBs dedication to teaching, we established a scholarship at Central Maine Community College on the occasion of his retirement in 2012.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Richard F. Bastow Scholarship Fund at CMCC 1250 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210.

Richard Frederick Bastow

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