Richard, Leo

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                                         LEO RICHARD
                                Multi-Talented Richard Honored
                                       By Doug Prince


One suggested a 15-item business card for Leo Richard, 76, of Chatham, as friends, particularly boating enthusiasts, tendered him an appreciation night Saturday.

Dr. Jean Gauthier gave his idea of a business card as he led off 10 friends who spoke of their associations with Leo, now semi-retired.

Gauthier said one side of the card would read "high rigger, steelworker, general contractor, aircraft air frame technician, boat builder and surveyor, boat launch master, small engine repairman, outboard motor dealer and serviceman, general hardware and wood supplier, cabinet maker, yachtsman, charter member of the Miramichi Yachting and Boat Club, rear commodore of the MYBC - and on the other side of the card-in gold letters-one could read "A True Friend."

Gauthier, speaking at the Douglastown Community Centre before some 40 friends from the Miramichi and Moncton areas, said he could write a book about what he's learned from Leo in 11 years. He referred to the first time he arrived to launch his boat at 7:30 a.m., seemingly early but actually late, much to Leo's annoyance. One of the first things Gauthier thus learned was that it was always high tide on the Miramichi at 5:45 a.m.

John Burchill said every generation on the Miramichi produces its group of characters and, if he had to rate Leo as a character, he would give him a 10.

                                        Great Craftsman

Burchill said Leo was a great craftsman and did a first class job of replacing an oversized door in the 161-year old St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Bushville. The door of pine and mahogany was seven feet high, three feet wide and three inches thick.

Dr. Robert McKenzie told how he first met Leo in Nova Scotia in 1929 and was into his shop weekly for many years since 1946 despite losing out to Mark and John Creaghan in a boat purchase.

Warren Schella 'of Moncton related the story of how Leo saved the life of a sick horse by getting it on its feet and taking it for a ride in the winter woods. Schella then presented Leo with a painting of 'Leo's famous ride.'

Dr. Mark Creaghan said his association with Leo began over 35 years ago when he and his brother purchased a boat.

Leo's brother, Edmond of Riverview, recalled that when Leo was 10 or 11 he was putting together old clocks. "While I was playing baseball and hockey, Leo was learning. He's earned a masters of some sort - his honesty, integrity and willingness to share his knowledge without question and he gives it free." Edmond presented Leo with the compass from his favorite sail boat, the Kelpie, which Leo sold several years ago to a Moncton resident.

Don MacMillan, describing the skill of Leo, said he could overturn, right a boat and sail away in about two minutes. "Everyone can identify and relate with Leo. He is always obliging.”

John Creaghan said one of Leo's greatest enemies was salt water. "Whenever there is something he can't fix, its ‘salt water, salt water, salt water’. Leo should be called Mr. Miramichi and I hope that when a Sports Hall of Fame is set up that they include boating and I hope that Leo Richard will be the first one that's a member of it."

Dr. Ralph Deware of Riverview presented Leo with a "Ground Hog" award in memory of a sailing occasion when Leo's boat kept going aground. Deware said he had in his house one of the most beautiful pieces of furniture built by Leo.

Dr. Jim MacMillan spoke of the "right of fall here” produced and directed by Leo as he separated boats from their natural element and returned them home. He presented Leo with a clock saying, "Leo Richard, Boater's Friend, 1984" on behalf of assembled friends.


Source: Miramichi Weekend – October 26, 1984

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