Thursday, June 20, 2013
PORTLAND – Every so often, Richard Bond wondered if he ever made a difference in the world.
Richard Bond visits Paris in 1984. He was known as a loving husband and father, with a gift for writing and a passion to help others. He died Aug. 2 with his family by his side.
Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.
Without question, Bond's contributions in life deeply affected those whose lives he touched.
Mr. Bond was a beloved dean of Westbrook College and a tireless advocate for students and faculty. There, he helped develop its nursing and dental hygiene programs.
He was a decorated World War II Army veteran, who was recognized for his bravery in leading an attack to evacuate a group of soldiers under hostile fire near the town of Barenrode, Germany.
In that same battle, he received four bullet holes through his jacket while carrying a wounded man to safety.
Mr. Bond was also a loving husband and father, who had a gift for writing and a passion to help others.
"The greatest evidence of power and strength is kindness," said his son, Michael Bond, of Winthrop. "There was never a time that he didn't come to the aid of someone in need. The greatest warriors are the ones that most love peace. That was my father."
Mr. Bond died on Aug. 2 with his family by his side. He was 95.
So much of what shaped Bond's life stems from his years growing up on Munjoy Hill. In the 1920s and 1930s, it was a tight-knit Irish-Italian community, where everyone knew each other and you looked out for your neighbors.
"Everyone was really poor," his son said. "No one had much money. Those years of sharing within the community gave him a great sense of what was most important in life -- to take care of your neighbors. For him, community was every person that needed help."
In 1940, he joined the Army. At the start of World War II, he was sent to officer training school and graduated as a second lieutenant.
Mr. Bond's obituary noted that he was in the second wave of troops to cross Remagen Bridge into Germany. He fought many battles, and often risked his life to save wounded soldiers.
His son talked with great emotion about his father's service, noting the battle that left four bullet holes through his jacket
"I still have the coat," he said. "My father was one of those people that cared about others more than himself. That's why he was always the first man in the line of fire."
After the war, Mr. Bond returned to school and earned a master's degree in English literature at Columbia University.
In 1953, he was appointed director of admissions and professor of English literature at Westbrook College, now the University of New England. In 1956, he was named dean of the college.
During his tenure, Mr. Bond was instrumental in helping the school develop its dental hygiene and nursing programs. He also advocated for the funding and construction of the school's art gallery.
The younger Bond said much of his father's success was attributed to his leadership and communication skills and his tireless devotion to students.
"He cared so much about people that he wanted to help everyone one in every way he could," his son said. "He improved the lives of literally thousands of people. He would sit for hours with a student who had problems. His door was always open. He was always there."
He was a loving husband of Isobel Bond, his wife for over 40 years. The couple grew up together on Munjoy Hill.
His son said his parents were a typical Irish couple who enjoyed singing together. Bond was known for his "golden" Irish tenor voice.
"We had that Irish love of poetry and song," he said. "My mother and father were incredibly devoted to each other. We have been grieving for days. He was always there for me always."
Mr. Bond retired in 1980, then moved with his wife to their summer home on a lake near Winthrop. She died in 1983.
Bond immersed himself in service work. He volunteered at the former Augusta General Hospital and at Maine Medical Center. He also volunteered as a tutor in Maine's prisons.
"He was aware that so much in life was random and that a kid could end up behind bars because life isn't easy," his son said. "My dad tried to help wherever he could."
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: