Richard Linwood Peary

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – Richard Linwood Peary, 79, died on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at home in Framingham, Mass., in the house which was his last act as a self-taught carpenter.

In the weeks before his death, Richard was surrounded by loving members of his family, including Christa, his wife of 53 years; his daughter, Kristina; his son, also named Richard; his oldest child, Alexandria; and his daughter-in-law, Dtan. Even in his last few hours, he showed his characteristic mirth, making a joke to lighten others’ hearts. After valiantly fighting several cancers before succumbing to pancreatic cancer, he left this earth in a house decorated with the still life paintings of his wife and the drawings and school photos of his four granddaughters and two grandsons.

He was an entrepreneur, a self-educated success, and his hobby was work for most of his life. He ploughed driveways, raised beams, pounded nails, opened deliveries, stocked shelves, mowed lawns, pounded more nails, ran a cash register, a strong man, a physical worker, until cancer and five years of illness stripped him of those outlets.

Although not given the advantages of a college degree, he taught himself and had the courage to begin ventures that would have intimidated others, for the sake of his family’s well-being. His willingness to try the seemingly impossible and to work hard in that trying was not for the faint hearted. Side-by-side with his son and wife, at the peak of their business, he built 36 and managed 55 apartment units, along with running a country store.

He was known for his dislike of attention and would rather donate it to others, shifting the spotlight onto other people, asking questions about others’ lives, including the doctor, nurses and hospice staff who helped him at the end of his life. Everyone loved knowing Richard, and he is sorely missed.

Richard Peary was born on June 14, 1942, the second son of Viola and Linwood Peary of Washburn with an older brother Gaynol, who predeceased him in 2017, and a younger brother, Donald. After graduating from Washburn High School, he joined the Navy, serving on battle ships. His Navy years left an indelible impression on him, including a near-miss during the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

In 1968, while employed as a civilian for Raytheon, he met Christa, an immigrant from West Germany, and they married on July 20, 1968, shortly before his transfer to Hawaii. He worked for Raytheon for 13 years; the company sent his young family to live in Rota, Spain, and then to Newport, R.I. In July 1976, Richard and Christa purchased a country store in Sidney during the era of the Blue Law (no alcohol sales on Sundays), before the arrival of the big box stores and super-sized supermarkets in adjacent cities of Augusta and Waterville.

Early on, Peary’s Market served as a community center—deer inspection station during hunting season, a “redemption” center for bottles—later a place to rent videos for that new device, the VCR, and for kids, a place to covet penny candy. For 21 years, Peary’s Market was the meeting place for farmers and working men grabbing a soda, cigarettes, and bag of chips, to talk to the man behind the counter, a comradery Richard enjoyed.

During the 1980s and 1990s, at the urging of Christa who intuited that the family would not survive off the income from the convenience store, he and his wife designed and constructed a series of multi-unit apartment buildings in town. They were able to help give all three children the precious gift of a college education: Alexandria, who became a college professor and state poet laureate; Kristina, who became a counselor and massage therapist; Richard who became a civil engineer. The younger Richard went on to study civil engineering, inspired by the construction work done with his father.

After selling the store in August 1997, Richard and Christa moved to Alabama in 2006 to join his wife’s sisters and their husbands, and what ensued were several years of fun, Florida beaches, cruise ships and margaritas, plus participation in a local church. They made two trips to Southeast Asia to visit their son, daughter-in-lawn and grandchild, where Richard embraced every cuisine he encountered. He enjoyed a short stint as the owner of a RV, longer stint as friend of two rescue Shih Tzu. In 2014, they returned to New England, moving to Framingham, Mass. to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

A full color guard burial is anticipated to occur in the spring of 2022 in Massachusetts.

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