BANGOR AND MALVERN, PA - Richard Wilder Sprague, 85, died peacefully, surrounded by members of his family, on July 5, 2014 at Sunrise Assisted Living, Malvern, Pennsylvania. He was born January 21, 1929 in Rockland, Maine, the only child of Horace W. and Mary Helen Pendleton Sprague.
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Richard was reared on Islesboro, where he attended local elementary schools. After graduating from Gould Academy, Bethel, Maine in 1946, he entered the University of Maine. As a journalism student, he was recognized for his talent in photography, later winning an Associated Press award for photo journalism.
After his graduation in 1950, Richard worked at the Bangor Evening Commercial newspaper, until called to duty during the Korean Conflict. Following his honorable discharge from the Army, he was hired to do public relations for the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad (BAR). During his 39 year career, he started the company magazine, The Maine Line. It was a popular house magazine, written about and for employees. For its excellence, he was given several national and international awards, including one for the best magazine in the industry. After retiring he wrote and published a collection of his best works, The Past is a Different Place, which mirrors his love of Aroostook County and the BAR people.
In 1950, Richard married Marilyn Hoyt of Fort Fairfield, mother of his four children. The marriage ended in divorce in 1970. During the '50s and '60s, Richard and Marilyn lived in Houlton, Maine. While there, he became a vestry member at the Episcopal Church of The Good Shepherd and a volunteer in many civic organizations.
In 1970 Richard was transferred by the BAR to its Bangor offices. He was later named as a senior Vice President of the BAR. In 1971 he married Ann A. Fox, of Roanoke, VA. In Bangor, he continued civic work, and was a supporter of the Bangor Symphony; president of the Senior UMO Alumni Association and United Way; and a trustee for Gould Academy. He was a life member of Island Lodge #89 AF & AM, the Scottish Rite Bodies, Valley of Bangor and Maine Consistory 32 degree. Richard was a dog lover, avid hunter, and well-known gun collector.
He is survived by: Jonathan and Suzanne Sprague of Fredericksburg, VA; Christopher Sprague and Darlene Young of Randolph, ME; Susan Sprague Schwarz of Malvern, PA; and Robin Sprague of Bangor; Stephen Fox of Sarasota, FL; three grandchildren: Will and Neil Schwarz, and Kristina Sprague. Besides his parents, Richard was predeceased by his wife, Ann A. Fox.
A Memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor, with the Rev. Canon Mary Ann Taylor officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center St., Bangor, immediately following the service. Those who wish to remember Richard in a special way may make gifts to either of Richard's favorite charities: Hammond Street Senior Center, 2 Hammond Street, Bangor, ME 04401, or the Senior Alumni Scholarship Fund, University of Maine Alumni Association, 160 College Avenue, P.O. Box 550, Orono, ME 04473. Condolences to the family may be expressed at www.BrookingsSmith.com.
133 Center Street Bangor, ME 04401
Published in BDN Maine on July 10, 2014