George S. “Rip” Richards
White River Jct., Vt. — George S. “Rip” Richards died peacefully in his sleep on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, at the age of 85. He would have been pleased to know that he looked like himself.
Rip was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1927. Shortly thereafter his family moved to Springfield, Pa. and he spent his early years there and on the water in Ocean City, N.J. He attended South Kent School and, while a student there, left in May 1945 to join the United States Navy, and he remained in the US Naval Reserves until July 1954. Rip returned to school after his active duty, graduating in 1947 from South Kent, then attending and graduating from Marlboro College as one of the original G.I. Bill recipients. During his college years, he also taught sailing aboard the Tabor Boy at Tabor Academy and served as first mate for a number of ocean races.
In 1952, he began his long career at Holderness School as a math teacher and coach of football, hockey and baseball. After several successful years in the classroom he became Director of Buildings and Grounds and held that position for the next 25 years. Rip loved the challenge of a new project and supervised many during his tenure, including a new dining hall, a new dormitory, a new athletic facility which incorporated playing fields with the best root structure in New England, and an upgraded hockey rink, the piping for which was found in Exeter, N.H., disassembled by students and family, and relocated to Holderness where it was reassembled to perfection.
Rip spent many hours clearing and maintaining trails for the Squam Lakes Association and Forest Service. He was particularly fond of Dog Cove on Squam Lake and spent many days there as the caretaker. He was a dedicated volunteer firefighter in Holderness and in North Pomfret, Vt., where he moved after retiring from Holderness School and where he enjoyed the daily routines of a small farm.
He donated his time and expertise for many years to the Green Mountain Horse Association and to Sterling Springs. He particularly enjoyed volunteering as a goal judge for the Dartmouth Women’s Ice Hockey games, where he had a front row seat for the brand of hockey he preferred and he could keep in touch with scores of people from his earlier days.
Those who know Rip well can be comforted by the fact that, wherever he may be, he’s already pruned everything in sight, laid down a perfect sheet of ice, and checked the boiler one last time. In keeping with his unique style, Rip requested no funeral or memorial service but asked that people remember him in their own way and in their own hearts, and shuck an oyster or set off a few fireworks in his honor when the time is right.
Rip is survived by his wife Mary, the love of his life for over 60 years; sons, Sam, Tom and Rock; daughters, Kirk and Sara; and a gaggle of grandchildren.
If you wish to show your respects and honor Rip’s memory in a way that he would sincerely appreciate, please consider a donation to Holderness School in Plymouth, N.H., South Kent School in South Kent, Conn., or Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vt.