Richard A. Harding, 86

Richard Harding

WINDHAM — Richard Arnold Harding, 86, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, at Ledgewood Manor.

He was born on Dec. 6, 1932, a son of Eugene G. and Susie (Sanborn) Harding.

Richard’s father was killed at a young age, leaving his mother to care for the family. Richard grew up at the beloved “Little House” on Mighty Street in Gorham and attended the Wescott School. Some of his favorite pastimes from childhood were playing with his cousins, picking berries and going for walks. Richard graduated from Standish High School in 1951.

Richard spent his summers working as a butler for wealthy families on Sebago Lake and taking care of the Richville Cemetery. He went on to further his education at the Portland Junior College, graduating in 1953. Upon graduation, he moved to Massachusetts, where he worked his way through college, graduating from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army, and was transported to Frankfort, Germany. Luckily, during his education he learned the German language and could speak fluent German. After his honorable discharge, Richard spent six years in the Army Reserves.

Richard spent his career working as a florist for over 40 years; he worked for Mary Minott, and later for Vose Smith. Throughout his life, Richard met several actresses, including Bette Davis of Cape Elizabeth and Katherine Hepburn, along with many different politicians. Later in life Richard became an antiques dealer, traveling down south, setting his wares up at various flea markets.

Richard was very pleased and proud to tell people that his paternal grandmother, Ida (Meserve) Harding was one of Winslow Homer’s favorite models in Pine Point. She was featured in “The Light on the Sea” and “Fisher Girl.” Richard and his sister Beatrice were thrilled to spend a day together at the Portland Museum of Art to view the original paintings.

Some more of his favorite pastimes were the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas; he was famous for his special hand-ground relish dish. He enjoyed picnics with the family (especially with egg salad sandwiches and chocolate milk), and picking Black-eyed Susan’s.

Richard is survived by his loving sister, Beatrice (Meserve) Fortin of Standish; nephew Alfred A. “Tony” Fortin Jr. of Naples, niece Michelle (Fortin) Berry of Casco; 10 great-nieces and nephews; and 12 great-great-nieces and nephews; as well as many cousins.

He was predeceased by his parents; his brother, Stanley Harding; a niece and a nephew.

A memorial service will be held on Friday Sept. 21, 2018, at 4 p.m., at the Gorham Chapel of Dolby Blais & Segee, 76 State Street, Gorham. A period of visitation will be held at 3 p.m. until the time of service. A reception will follow services at the Richville Library (Route 114) in Standish. To express condolences or participate in Richard’s online tribute, please visit www.DolbyBlaisSegee.com

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Richville Cemetery, c/o Richard Green, 50 Cole Hill Rd., Standish, ME 04084.

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