Francis O. ‘Rich’ Richardson Jr., 79

Francis Richardson Jr.

Francis Richardson Jr.

LIMINGTON — Francis O. “Rich” Richardson Jr., 79, joined the Lord's Fire Department on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, after a courageous five-year battle with cancer.

Born July 1, 1935 in Portland to Francis O. Richardson and Mary Anne Blouin Richardson, Rich attended South Portland schools and was an alumnus of South Portland High School.

Rich served in the Seabees at the Brunswick Naval Air Station and eight years with the U.S. Navy Reserve. He was honorably discharged in 1960.

In 1955, Rich joined Engine 6 Call Company of the South Portland Fire Department. Four years later, he became a member of the city’s permanent department. As a chartering member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1476, Rich served his beloved union as its president for four years, as vice president for two years and secretary-treasurer for two years. He was appointed as an IAFF organizer for the state of Maine by then International President Howie McClennan. During his tenure, Rich helped to organize and charter the fire departments of Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach and Gardner as IAFF locals. He was also involved with the Greater Portland Labor Temple.

Rich’s organizing efforts extended statewide as permanent fire departments across Maine banded together as the Maine Council of Uniformed Fire Fighters, IAFF. He served as the Council’s president for nine years. The MCUFF is now known as Professional Fire Fighters of Maine. Rich and the MCUFF worked tirelessly with the Maine State Legislature to pass the Heart and Lung Law, and was present at the signing ceremony with Governor Joe Brennan. Rich made many trips to Augusta to testify before legislative committees on several fire fighter bills, including the bill giving municipal fire fighters the right to collectively bargain.

During his South Portland Fire Department career, Rich earned several commendations from the city, as well as the American Legion, for heroism. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1975, and after 25 years of service Rich retired in 1984.

Mr. Richardson had also worked for over 30 years with Sears Roebuck & Company, retiring in 1995 as a Hardlines Replenishment manager.

He was predeceased by his son Brian Richardson.

Rich is survived by his loving wife Shirley; daughter, Anita Ratigan of Casco; six grandchildren; three stepchildren; and several step-grandchildren.

Visiting hours were held on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland. A funeral service was held on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 at Hobbs Funeral Home, with a reception at the V.F.W. on Perry Terrace in South Portland. Committal was at Steep Falls Cemetery after the reception.

Memorial donations can be made in Rich’s name to: South Portland Fireman’s Relief Fund, 180 Evans Street, South Portland, Maine 04106.

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