GORHAM – Richard Burgess Innes died on Oct. 9, 2020 at The Gorham House at the age of 97. He was born in 1922 in Portland, the second son of Robert B. and Doris E. Innes of South Portland.

He attended the Willard, Roosevelt, and Henley schools in South Portland, graduating from SPHS in 1940. At the University of Maine, he became a member of the engineering society, Tau Beta Pi, received a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics in December 1943, and due to the University’s participation in the U.S. Army’s “A.S.T.P” (Army Specialized Training Program), remained at the University as an Instructor in the Physics Dept.

In May of 1944, he accepted employment with RCA in Lancaster, Pa. Following the war, he began graduate study at Brown University, but was drafted into the Army of the U.S. that June, being assigned to Ground Forces Board No. 1 at Fort Bragg, N.C., which tested new military equipment. During that assignment, he married Rachel Minnette Bailey of Portland on Oct. 5, 1946.

At the request of the Veterans’ Administration and the University of Maine, he was discharged in December 1946 to return to teaching in the physics department at University of Maine’s “Brunswick Annex”, created to accommodate the many returning veterans using their G.I. Bill educational benefit. Returning temporarily to cathode-ray-tube development during the summer of 1948 at General Electric’s plant in Schenectady, N.Y., he then did further graduate study at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Due to mononucleosis in 1949, he and Rachel returned to Maine and he began work in the research laboratory of the S.D. Warren in Westbrook.

In 1953, he became an Assistant Editor of Reports in the University of Michigan’s Willow Run Research Center, he and Rachel making their home near Ann Arbor, Mich. In 1954, he transferred to the Center’s Radar Laboratory. The Center eventually became a private, not-for-profit corporation, the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan, in which Innes continued in the same work not only until his retirement in 1989, but also, after being given emeritus status on the Institute’s staff, until his move to Maine in 1996.

From 1972 until 1976, he served as an elected Trustee of Superior Township, Mich., and also served on the Township’s Park Commission. Interested in hiking trails since a first hike on the Appalachian Trail in 1952, he laid out and organized the building, in the early 1960s, of the 23-mile Waterloo section of what became the 46-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Hiking Trail in western Washtenaw County, Mich. From 1976 through 2001, he and Rachel and other family members maintained a section of the Appalachian Trail in Maine. In 2000 and 2001, he researched the history and capabilities of the telescopes formerly used in the Portland Observatory, and, in 2002, completed a history of Little Chebeague Island, in Casco Bay, the early 1900s home of Rachel’s father’s family.

In 2007 Richard and Rachel moved to The Gorham House, a retirement/assisted care facility in Gorham, where Richard was a contributor to the building fund for the walking path and where he started a recycling program. The family greatly appreciated the high level of care provided there for over 13 years.

Richard is predeceased by his wife of 73 years, Rachel; two children, Rowena Leyla Altin of St. Charles, Mo., and Steven Innes of Gorham.

He is survived by two children, Lydia Luitje (husband Bill) of Portland, Ore., David Innes of Minneapolis, Minn., daughter-in-law Nancy Innes of Gorham, son-in-law Mehmet of St. Charles, Mo.; and five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Burial will be at the Brooklawn Memorial Park, 2002 Congress St., Portland on Tuesday Oct. 20 at 2 p.m.

Online condolence messages can be submitted at the Chad E. Poitras Cremation and Funeral Service website, http://www.mainefuneral.com

Donations can be made in Richard’s name to either

Maine Appalachian

Trail Club

P.O. Box 7564

Portland, ME 04112


The Gorham House

Attn.: Michelle Belhumeur

50 New Portland Rd.

Gorham, ME 04038

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