He owned and operated one of the largest and best known boatyards in Maine, a business on Sebago Lake that was founded by his grandfather almost a century ago.

Richard E. Richardson, 85, of Standish died Friday at the Gorham House in Gorham, knowing that his fourth-generation, family-owned business was being left in good hands.

Mr. Richardson operated Richardson’s Boat Yard on Sebago Lake Basin from 1975 until he retired in 1993. His sons, Rick and Jeffrey, both of Standish, are the current owners and operators.

Richardson’s is believed to be the only fourth-generation-owned boatyard in New England.

“My father wanted us to take over the business,” Rick Richardson said. “He basically handed it down to us.”

After graduating from the former Standish High School in 1946 – Standish now sends its students to Bonny Eagle High School – Mr. Richardson went to work for his father.

Richardson’s Boat Yard was founded in 1921 on White’s Bridge Road in Standish by Mr. Richardson’s grandfather, Arthur Richardson, who purchased more than 300 acres on Sebago Lake Basin. There was one covered boathouse in the water at the time that he bought the property.

Mr. Richardson’s father, Everett, took over the business in 1946. His son, who grew up on White’s Bridge Road in Standish, spent his youth working at the marina, which has direct boat access to Sebago Lake.

In the old days, Mr. Richardson would use a hand pump to pump gas. He would sell six gallons for $1, his son said.

Rick Richardson said his father worked hard to build up the business that he inherited.

“When I was a kid, my father would work seven days a week. He rarely took a vacation, other than to take one week off to go deer hunting in the Allagash,” his son said. “Other than that he was very dedicated to his work.”

That dedication paid off. Now, more than 700 boats are stored at Richardson’s Boat Yard during the winter months, and the marina provides 280 slips with convenient access to one of the state’s largest lakes. Richardson’s also operates two showrooms, one in Standish and the other on Route 302 in Windham.

Rick Richardson said the boatyard started selling motorboats in 1985. It currently sells and delivers four lines of power boats.

When he wasn’t working at the marina, Mr. Richardson worked as a selectmen for the town of Standish and served on the town’s Planning Board.

He and his family were also hired to plow Standish’s roads during the winter months, a contract that the Richardsons fulfilled from 1946 to 1993.

After selling the boatyard to his sons, Mr. Richardson still came to work to help out and run errands.

“He never really retired,” his son explained.

In his spare time, Mr. Richardson enjoyed hunting and fishing at his camp in Kokadjo, a township on First Roach Pond about 18 miles north of Greenville.

He was also a devoted Boston Red Sox fan.

“He got to see the Red Sox in three world championships during his lifetime,” his son said.

Visiting hours will be held at the Dolby Funeral Chapel, 434 River Road in Windham, from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday.

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

dhoey@pressherald.com