Richard Thomas “Dick” Barden

GORHAM – It is with profound sadness, yet full hearts and uplifting memories, that the family of Richard Thomas “Dick” Barden of Gorham, Maine, announces his passing on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at 93. Dick was a beloved husband, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather. Born in Newton, Mass., on Sept. 18, 1926, he was the son of Nelson Guy Barden and Eva Gladys Barden (nee Thomas).

As a child, Dick attended the Perrin School in Wellesley, Mass. He studied piano, sang in the boys’ choir, and was a Boy Ranger. His summers were spent in Kingfield, Maine.

At age 10, his father, a pharmacist, opened Barden Rexall Drug Store in Gorham, Maine. The family relocated to Gorham, purchasing a property on Church Street. Dick attended Charlotte Millet School and Gorham High School in his youth. He began working at the soda fountain at the drugstore at age 13. In 1944, his high school basketball team were champions of what was then the Cumberland County Athletic Conference. Additionally, he played saxophone and clarinet in a local dance band named “Charlie Leighton & The Boys”.

Dick received a four-year scholarship to attend Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, and a scholarship from Phi Delta Chi, a fraternity of which he later became President. He was also inducted into Rho Chi Honor Society and was Valedictorian of his graduating class. Purdue University offered an assistantship in Pharmacology, but his father needed help with the drugstore, so Richard returned to Gorham. He met his future wife, Rosalie Elizabeth Preble, while working at the drugstore, and the two were married on Sept. 4, 1949, at the First Parish Congregational Church of Gorham. The newlyweds opened and operated Standish Pharmacy & Restaurant. A few years later, Dick’s father wished to retire, so he and Rosalie closed the Standish business, and Dick took over his father’s store. Back in Gorham, Dick became a Mason in Gorham’s Harmony Lodge, and continued as a lifetime member. He also became a Charter Member of Gorham Lion’s Club, and was later elected President of the club. He was a lifetime member of this organization, as well.

Dick and Rosalie raised three children: Michael, Terrilynn, and Gregory. In 1959, the family moved to Deep Cove Shores in Raymond, Maine. In 1963, Dick purchased the Rexall business from his father. The Bardens subsequently purchased a home on South Street in Gorham. That same year, Dick’s mother deeded him her childhood home in Kingfield, Maine, which the family used when skiing Sugarloaf Mountain. In 1966, Dick and “Bill” Rickards (a fellow pharmacist) joined forces and opened a new pharmacy, incorporated as “Gorham Pharmacy”. The following year, Dick and Rosalie built a house on Flaggy Meadow Road in Gorham, based on Rosalie’s design.

Dick’s family always came first. Nonetheless, he was very active in community affairs. He served as president of Gorham PTA; headed up AFS; was a member of the Maine Pharmaceutical Association; served on several church boards and also as Head Deacon. Dick was a member of the Town of Gorham Planning Board; served as a State YMCA Financial Chairman; was a Corporator of Gorham Savings Bank; was on the Executive Committee at First Parish Congregational Church; was on the Board of Appeals for Town of Gorham; was chairman of the Dedication Committee for the Congregational church’s new Parish House; sang in the First Parish choir for 45 years; sang bass with the Portland Community Chorus, and participated in “The Magic of Christmas” for 15 years. He also toured the United States and Europe singing with the church choir and sang on their Christmas CD entitled “What Sweeter Music”.

When Dick and his business partner sold Gorham Pharmacy, he went on to work at other drugstores, including LaVerdiere’s and Community Pharmacy. He continued to work until finally retiring at age 83.

Dick enjoyed traveling to Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, Ecuador, Canada, and the Caribbean. He enjoyed activities such as golf, boating, skiing (both snow and water), and was a lifelong fan of Boston sports teams. Dick was widely regarded as a gentleman and scholar, and a trusted, competent pharmacist who checked every prescription three times to ensure accuracy. He was highly respected by doctors, his coworkers, and, most importantly, his customers. His was a life dedicated to selflessly helping others.

Dick was predeceased by his parents, his younger brother, Hubert, a niece, Deborah Mathews (nee Barden), and his older sister, Beverly (Fuller). Survivors include his loving wife of 70 years, Rosalie, 93, his two sons, Michael and Gregory, and his adoring daughter, Terrilynn. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Farrah Frager (nee Pitkin), Sommer Barden, Jen Weaver, Christyn Dubreuil, Michael Barden III, Brandon Barden, Deanna Tarbox (nee Dubreuil), Camden Barden, Alyssa Barden, Sierra Barden, and great-grandchildren: Nichole Barden, Mia Barden, Michael Brown, Hanna Pitkin, Fynnyck Barden, Eliana Tarbox, Killian Armington, Nicholas Barden, Justin Barden, Jorden Rugg, Lily Rugg, and Travis Barden. Dick is also survived by one great-great-grandchild, Jared Barden. In addition, Dick embraced and included many other special people in his life, notably his loving nieces, Patti Marsh, Robin Torrey (both nee Fuller), and Kathryn Fuller, and nephew Steven Barden, as well as Patricia Palma of Ecuador, Chanhsamone Syrravanh of Delaware, Minoo Abadani of Iran, and Lynelle Leclair of Gorham. Steven and his wife Marissa were a regular and comforting presence during Dick’s final days, as was Kerry Dubreuil.

A celebration of life in Dick’s memory will be held at First Parish Congregational Church of Gorham, on Sunday, November 10, at 2 p.m., with reception in the Fellowship Hall to follow. Online condolence messages can be submitted at the Chad E. Poitras / Neal & York Funeral Home website, www.mainefuneral.com

If inclined, in lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to make donations to Gosnell Memorial Hospice House or First Parish.