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Richard "Rick" Albertson

Date of Death: March 1, 2022

Date of Birth: January 4, 1931

Biography:

Richard Collins “Rick” Albertson (Cpt USN, retired) passed away on March 1, 2022 after a brief illness. As was his nature, he passed as he wished - peacefully, at his treasured oceanside home in Sebasco, Maine and with his family at his side after 91 marvelous, fulfilling and productive years on this earth. His legacy and wisdom will carry-on with the surviving members of his family:  children Neil (Laura) Isett, Derrick (Ellen Hallett) Albertson, Jeff (Sharon) Isett, Tom (Imelda Reyes) Isett and Leif (Kimberly) Albertson, 14 grand children, 4 great grandchildren, his youngest sister Jodi (Vaughn) Anthony, many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews, and extended family and friends too numerous to be listed. Twice a widower, Rick was predeceased by both wives in the prime of their lives. Erina (Smyrnoff) Albertson in 1971, then Erme (Plumley/Isett) Albertson in 2004. Also passing before Rick was his daughter, Susan (Albertson) Voydanoff in 2017, younger sister Faye (Bert) Wells in 2018, and his parents Wyatt “Dutch” Albertson 1997 and Sara “Sally” Collins Albertson in 2002.

Born on January 4th, 1931 In Cambridge, Massachusetts, the eldest of 3 children, he grew up on numerous family locations, including his father’s family farm in West Newbury, MA, and his mother’s family home on the ocean in Sebasco, Maine. The family was moved to Michigan in 1942 at the request of The Ford Motor Company so that his father, a regional Ford Service Manager for New England, could support the testing and quality control verification of every one of the 6792 completed B-24 Liberators built at the Willow Run Bomber Plant. The family lived in Ann Arbor and he attended Ann Arbor schools, where in jr high school, he met and fell in love with Erina Smyrnoff. Her parents were survivors of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia, walking through Greece to escape, culminating in an approved immigration into the US via Ellis Island. Mr. Smyrnoff had become an accomplished engineer/machinist while in the US. As a proud US citizen, he applied his talents to a problem that originated from the bomber plant, relayed to him by Rick’s  father. Vadim solved the problem by developing the proprietary grinding techniques which provided the US military with a vastly improved Norden Bombsight, achieving a 200% improvement in accuracy, thereby allowing the allies to achieve incredible efficiency in targeting military assets in both theaters while minimizing civilian casualties during the war.

As his family prepared to return to Maine upon the wars’ completion, Rick successfully convinced his parents to allow him to stay in Ann Arbor with the Smyrnoff’s to complete his secondary education. WIth the Smyrnoffs speaking Russian within the family, Rick, always liking an intellectual challenge, took the opportunity to organically learn a difficult and very rarely used language in the US. After graduating AA High School in 1948, he attended the University of Michigan where he majored in English and minored in .

Russian language. His love of sports drove him to play football for the Wolverines football Team as a center letterman. He was proud to have been active as a leader in his Fraternity, the Omicron Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon at UM. Shortly after graduation in 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Erina Vadim Smyrnoff.

Because of his fluency in Russian and extensive study about Russia, the Navy specifically contacted Rick to offer him an Officers commision to assist the Navy in understanding the growing Soviet opposition in the expanding Cold War.  After 3 years of active duty staffing the “Russian Desk” at the Pentagon, including a short assignment in Korea, he chose to continue his Naval career via the Reserves, specializing in Naval Intelligence.He ascended to the rank of Captain in 1972, and completed his 39 year naval career in 1991. Post retirement, he continued his love of service and fellow veterans in his proud membership in American Legion Post 216 in Phippsburg.

Rick began his civilian career by joining Ford Motor Company in 1956 and settling in Dearborn, Michigan where he enjoyed a successful 41 year career, completing it in 1997. He rose to Executive Director level within HR, helping people be the best they could be. Within the busy time of these dual careers, he and Erina expanded their family with the addition of 3 children: Derrick in 1958, Susan in 1960, and Leif in 1964. The family had many friends and family in the area, and spent spare time enjoying trips “Up North” to Torch Lake, monthly bridge games, bowling, and traveling back to Maine for summers and holidays. Rick's personal hobbies revolved around his lifelong love of automobiles and boats. If he wasn’t tinkering on his own vehicles, he happily offered his talents to friends and family to tune or repair their ride. During the summers, he would constantly be working on his current boat, or planning for his next one.

In 1966 , Ford offered Rick a promotional position at the Ford subsidiary in Lima, Peru.

He often described the 3 year stint as the adventure of a lifetime.Trips to Machu Picchu, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, The Amazon, Ecuador, the Andes Mountains, along with the many artifacts and souvenirs he returned with in 1969.

In May 1971, heartbreak befell Rick with the passing of Erina. The support of the extensive network of friends from Ford and the Navy was crucial to his family’s well being. Among those longtime close friends was Ford colleague Neil Isett and his family.

The two families had been socially close through the bridge parties, even vacationing  together since the late 50’s at Torch Lake. In 1972, tragedy also struck the Isett family as Neil passed away suddenly. Rick as a Ford HR executive, but more important as a friend, offered his counsel to Neil’s wife, Erme Isett and her three Boys: Neil, Jeff and Tom in their time of need getting through the grief process.

During the course of the next year, Rick and Erme grew closer given their common plights and common social network - so close that each was fortunate to find love again in the form of each other. In Hollywood fashion, Rick asked Erme to marry him and they agreed to take on the challenge of blending the 2 families going forward.

Rick married Erme in August of 1973 on the front lawn of Rick’s parents home in Sebasco Estates, Maine. The wedding was originally planned to be in Dearborn for all their common friends and families. But during a pre-wedding trip to Maine to introduce the Isetts to the extended Albertson family, Rick had a serious fall while water skiing and was not able to travel back to Michigan in time for the scheduled nuptials.

So the wedding dress was shipped overnight to Maine, and the venue was changed to Maine in a 2 day span.

Rick's family maintained their residence in Michigan, and were able to continue with many aspects of their lives. The family spent many years vacationing ‘up north’ in Elk Rapids, Michigan at the Isett’s family cottage on Birch Lake. After retiring from Ford Motor Company in 1997, Rick and Erme moved to Maine to take over the mantle of stewardship from his parents for what was to become Ridleys Landing in (Sebasco) Phippsburg, Maine.

RIck was an unfortunate double widower, also losing his second loving wife Erme in 2004. He was comforted in being close to all 6 of his children and grand-children after her passing.  

Rick enjoyed many activities, intellectually and physically. His intellectual side was fed by voracious reading, staying up to date on the news, and intriguing conversation with anybody over a cup of coffee or during a happy hour (“after the sun was over the yard-arm”) One of Rick’s passions was supporting local fishermen. He owned a waterfront dock and wharf which he ran as a business with berthing and amenities to support 5 fishermen. He extended this passion by volunteering to serve on the board of the directors for the Maine Fishermen's Forum, proudly earning Board Member Emeritus status in recognition of his 10+ years in that position. In addition, he served 6 years participating on Phippsburg’s Urban Sprawl committee.

The sports activities included tennis, swimming, skiing, hunting and the outdoors,- including lobster boat races and the Annual moose hunt with the Wells family in the North Maine Woods. To know Rick, it was clear his passion was about improved performance in cars, boats, and activities - all while getting things done with a sense of class and excellence. His happiest moments (above his first priority of supporting his 6 children through whatever they chose to do - sports or education) were planning for and outfitting one of his four boats: Scamp (1959-1965) 18ft mahogany with supercharged T-Bird engine;  Chasqui (1968-1994) a Raymond Hunt 22’ wood jet boat with a turbocharged Holman and Moody 427 Ford built in Edgecomb, Maine - and was ordered while he was in Peru, 7000 miles away;  Wicked Good (1992-1997), a custom built Skater 24, capable of 110mph: All Set (2000-2019) his ultimate dream of a pleasure/Lobster boat- a 38ft Holland with a 1200Hhp MAN diesel, designed for light work and fast cruising, including the Maine Lobsterboat Racing circuit. He achieved his goal with numerous trophies and awards.

 

 

Rick’s true strength was that he loved to share in his successes and show his appreciation for friends and family; whether it was offering vehicle keys to take a drive, taking someone out to celebrate milestone events, or offering his home for vacations. The honor was always his when in anybody's company. He always made everyone he met feel as if he/she were the most important person in the world. Many friends and family members came to Rick seeking his opinion; to which he would diligently listen and then take his time to reply in a thoughtful manner.

 

 

A Celebration of Life will be held later this year and the family will hold private and graveside services later in the summer. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions in Rick’s memory may be made to the Phippsburg Fire and Ambulance Association, PO Box 83, Phippsburg, ME 04562, or to the American Legion Post 216, PO Box 93, Phippsburg, ME 04562.

 

 

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