I called him Lovis and Davis is what he called me. I am so grateful for the friendship we had, never did we have an interaction that was not meaningful in one way or another. We met in 1991, I was taking over the reigns of Arey’s Pond Boat Yard and moving into our new home over the waterfront office. Lovis was the very first of the established boatyard customers to seek me out and introduce himself. I remember my first impression, a man very confident in his demeanor and a bit intimidating, but I could tell he cared deeply about the boat yard and Pleasant Bay; he offered his help in any way I might need it. As days went by and our conversations evolved, his positive attitude helped build my confidence, because honestly I had no idea what I was doing when it came to running a business. One month into my dream of owning a boat yard, the perfect storm came and wiped us out. Dick and Jan, Dick’s wife, were the first to come down and help us prepare as the storm approached. They helped Robin and 2-year-old Brooke move 2-month-old Skye up to their house on Pilgrim Lake Terrace, while Danny Gould and I rode out the storm. We had 28″ of water in the shop, we lost all our tools; the office had a foot of water in it and we lost our office equipment. Welcome to Cape Cod, I thought, as we motored a 13′ Whaler down Arey’s Lane grabbing boats floating around on their trailers. After the storm was over, Lovis was the first person down to help with the clean up. Over the years he helped me with many floods and hurricane threats. During the clean-up hours, he would give me words of wisdom that kept me going, and ideas on how to battle the next one, always being reassuring that everything would be all right. As the years went on and Dick started having his health battles, I saw a man who was so internally motivated to live, nothing was going to get in his way, so he could share his insights and give back to the community, his Church, the Glass museum, FOPB and to his family. There was no such word or emotion that expressed giving up in his lexicon, his positive attitude carried him through many close calls. He made the most of every day despite whatever handicap he was forced to deal with, he always moved forward with a smile.
Soundings magazine wrote a story about Dick and how he volunteered his time at the Newport International Boat Shows to sell boats for Arey’s Pond. And sell the boats he did; for 15 years Dick and I trekked to Newport and Maine for the annual boat shows and he would man the booth and sell boats. For the annual Maine Boatbuilders Show, we had a routine that included dinner out in Portland the night before the show opened, it was a strategy dinner on how the weekend would go. He always made sure the details on our presentation were perfect, and that I paid for dinner. We traveled annually for 10 or more years on cold winter February days leaving at 5 am for the Catboat Association meetings in Newport RI and later Mystic CT.
So you can see as I tell these stories, our friendship grew into more than Dick being a helping hand, his management skills from his professional life helped me to grow my business, he was my mentor when it came to running the business. He deserves tremendous credit for the 27 years of growth at Arey’s Pond Boat Yard. It got so that if Dick was not at a boat show, people would ask for him. Our families became very close and eventually next door neighbors when we moved from the boat house to Pilgrim Lake Terrace. We were family, sharing weddings, birthdays, many parties and Super Bowls.
Two Sundays ago, I sat with Dick in his room at Liberty commons and watched the first half of the Patriots game. When I arrived he was sleeping and the television was off. We had our usual conversation that started like this, “You know Davis, I was 57 and retired when you bought the boat yard.” Then he would say “How old are you now, Davis?” and I would tell him, then came the advice on what I should do with my life and business.
When I had my goodbye that day, he said just as I was leaving, “Davis, you know, every day is the same, one runs right into the next, I have no idea what the weather is outside, what day it is and I forgot all about the game.” In all my years of knowing Dick, that was the first series of comments that expressed a negative outlook about his life. It was hard to do my usual parting line of hang in their Dick, see you soon. I sensed he was ready to shut it down, he was rightly fully proud of his life and all of his accomplishments. He had worked very hard to be a loving father of four and a good husband and he made the world a better place in his 87 years of life and that is all any of us can wish for. He took his last breath knowing he gave it his all.
He lived and sailed with style and grace. I will always be grateful for our friendship. And Pleasant Bay will forever be his special second home. -Tony