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Richard Parker Start

Date of Death: December 19, 2023

Date of Birth: October 3, 1942


Richard Parker Start of Five Islands, Georgetown, Maine was born on October 3, 1942, in Melrose, Massachusetts the son of W. Parker Start and Barbara (Marr) Start of Melrose, Massachusetts and Five Islands. After a long battle with cancer, Richard dimmed our world when he departed this earthly life on December 19, 2023, during a sou’easter that knocked out power throughout much of Maine.
Richard was a man of many passions: he was a spinner of stories, builder of beautiful structures, lover of great food and a fine scotch, guitar strummer, sailor, philosopher – a Renaissance Man.
Though he was born ‘away’ and attended school in Massachusetts, Richard considered his true home to be Five Islands, Georgetown. He spent his summers there with his extended family on Gott’s Cove in the cottage his grandfather built. Richard’s hard work ethic, dry humor and love of nature all grew from his special summers in Maine.
Richard met his wife Carol in 1963 while they were both working at Casey the Florist in Melrose, MA: she being a florist and he being a greenhouse manager while attending Northeastern University. They were married in 1965 and began their grand adventure together welcoming their daughter Kristen and son Michael to the Start Family. In 1972 Rich and Carol built their little homestead in Pelham, New Hampshire on an old cow farm. Rich and Carol grew their one-acre plot into a haven, which included a pond for swimming and skating; a large vegetable garden and a greenhouse addition that Richard designed and built by hand.
Richard honed his carpentry skills on the family home and then joined forces with neighbor and friend Mal Estell. Mal and Rich went on to form their own two-man construction company working as weekend warriors - building additions, decks, and garages. They also harvested, cut and split all the firewood for their families’ homes. Somehow Richard squeezed in volunteer work, and served as a deacon with the Pelham First Congregational Church and sang in the church choir.
After serving in the National Guard, Richard found his affinity with the up-and-coming technology of computers in the late 1960s. He studied at IBM in Boston and then began his long career in the computer industry where he worked his way up from a programmer at Volkswagen to a program manager with Wang Laboratories. One of Richard’s favorite jobs was with Senior Systems where he travelled the country to different schools teaching educators how to use new computer systems.
The Start family carried on the tradition of vacationing in Five Islands but hated to leave when the week ended. Rich and Carol purchased his aunt and uncle Edith and William Marr’s house on Lewis Road in 1990, which allowed them to stay for longer stretches of time. The call of Maine could no longer be denied and in 2003 Richard and Carol sold their home in New Hampshire and moved to The Marr House to become year-round Georgetown residents. Once unpacked, they turned their attention to renovating their home and Richard established a computer consulting business, Beacon Information Services. Richard and son Michael then took on the project of restoring the family homestead across the way from the cottage.
Richard’s roots reach back 13 generations in Georgetown, and he was fascinated by his ancestors who lived and worked on the island before him. This naturally led him to the Georgetown Historical Society, where he volunteered, lectured, and served on the board for a number of years. You can watch one of Richard’s Georgetown lectures on GHS’ YouTube channel.
Never ones to be idle, Rich and Carol started their own business; Gotts Cove Property Management was a culmination of their loves of buildings, design, and maintenance. Rich’s joy of helping others was the foundation of the business and he so loved the people he helped. He logged many miles driving all over the island with his trusted copilot Biscuit, gaining him the nickname of “Ride around Rich”.
Richard is survived by his wife of 58 years Carol (Vars) Start of Georgetown, daughter Kristen Start also of Georgetown, son Michael Start and partner Kate Beever of Portland, sister Carolyn (Start) Fallon and husband Bryan Fallon of No. Andover, MA; sister-in-law Ruth Janet Taylor and husband Jeff, brothers-in-law Charles Vars and wife Rolinda and Arthur Vars and wife Karen and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Richard also leaves a cousin Debbie Beecher and special friends including Jack Williams & the crew at his garage. Their thoughtfulness and friendship provided Richard great comfort as his health failed.
Richard enjoyed a good party, so a celebration of life will be held in the spring, date to be announced. Donations in his memory can be made to the Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department (PO Box 199 Georgetown ME 04548) and the Georgetown Historical Society (PO Box 441, Georgetown ME 04548).

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