George B. Richardson left his mark on a small Maine island and a Massachusetts town.

Mr. Richardson over the last century wrote a history of Bustin’s Island in Freeport, flew planes and operated an airport, and even built tennis courts and a golf course.

Mr. Richardson, a longtime summer resident of Bustin’s Island, died Friday at age 99.

“My father was the type of guy, who if he wanted something done, he did it,” said a son, Stephen Richardson of Kennebunkport. “He was a hardworking guy and was quite the character.”

Mr. Richardson was born in Lowell, Mass., in 1914. After graduating from Lowell High School in 1932, he went to work on his family’s farm in Dracut, Mass. His great-grandfather bought the farm with money he got from finding gold during the California Gold Rush. In World Wars I and II, the farm supplied a local hospital and residents with milk and food.

In 1946, Mr. Richardson opened an airport on a 25-acre section of the farm. He ran a flying school and bought an airplane, which he flew to Maine and Cape Cod. Three years later, his family donated the airport land to the town of Dracut, which it used to build Dracut High School.

Mr. Richardson’s grandfather bought land on Bustin’s Island in 1946, his son said.

“My father fell in love with the island,” his son said. “It was a great place to grow up as a kid. I only have good memories.”

“He built all the tennis courts on the island, took care of the roads, and even built a golf course,” his son recalled.

Mr. Richardson served as mayor – the title is now overseer – of Bustin’s Island for five years, his son said.

In 1960, Mr. Richardson wrote and published “The History of Bustin’s Island,” which is still in circulation today. The book covers the period from 1660 to 1960.

His son said his father collected photographs and did all his own artwork for the 84-page book.

The book features a 1905 photograph of Cole Porter, the American composer and songwriter, who visited the island.

Rob Boone, chairman of the island’s overseers, said Mr. Richardson’s history is in nearly every cottage on the island, and complimentary copies of the book are given to incoming members of the Freeport Town Council.

Mr. Richardson also learned how to play the piano, the trombone, and a Hammond organ. “He was a very talented person,” his son said.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bustin’s Island Historical Society.

In addition to his wife of 45 years, Constance “Connie” Richardson, he is survived by two sons, three stepsons and a stepdaughter.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com