Dr. Richard B. Singer, 95: Consummate gentleman who valued intellect, faith, family

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FALMOUTH — Richard Bunker “Grandsfather” Singer, 95, died Feb. 19 at his home in the presence of family.

On March 22, 1914, he was born in Philadelphia, a son of Edgar Arthur Singer Jr. and Helen Bunker Singer.

After graduating from the Episcopal Academy in Merion, Penn., in 1930, he spent a semester at l’Ecole Alsacienne in Paris before beginning post-graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1939 he graduated with his medical degree.

In April 1942 he was called to active duty after enlisting in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served as a medical officer in the United States and in the Pacific theater.

At the end of World War II, he returned to Bethesda, Md., where he met his future wife, Dr. Margaret Henson, who was also a naval reservist.

They lived in Philadelphia while he taught at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine until 1952, when he began a career in life insurance underwriting with The New England Mutual Life Insurance Co. in Boston, eventually becoming vice president of research. This position sparked an interest in actuarial science that lasted the rest of his life.

He published extensively in reference books and medical journals, and was well respected in his field as a meticulous researcher. The American Academy of Insurance Medicine presented him with the Distinguished Physician Award in 1996 and the W. John Elder Award in 2000.

He and his wife lived in Cohasset, Mass. until he retired in 1979. After his retirement, they moved to York while he continued to work on the analysis of excess mortality follow-up studies and as a legal consultant on life expectancy.

In 1992 they relocated to the OceanView at Falmouth retirement community.

A man of intellect, he was an avid reader, consummate learner and born teacher. He also completed a memoir of his life, entitled “The Fugitive Memories of the Life of a Number Cruncher.”

He was a man of faith and a longtime member of the Episcopal church. He spent a lifetime of service to his country, his communities, charities and friends in need.

His family was the source of his greatest satisfaction and he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Ever a gentleman, he wore a jacket and tie every day, no matter the occasion. He insisted on holding the door for others.

His hobbies included listening to and “conducting” classical music, playing cards and sailing.
Surviving are his wife and “precious sweetie-pie” of 63 years, Margaret Henson Singer; his three children, Elizabeth Maule Estey and Larry of Stonington, Permelia Sears and David of Dunstable, Mass., and Richard H. Singer and Etsuko of Hoffman Estates, Ill.; his four granddaughters, Catherine Maule and Dave McKechnie, of Toronto, Ontario, Patia Maule and Ian Ramsey of Bowdoin, Rebecca Sears of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Ann Singer, of Hoffman Estates, Ill.; and one great-granddaughter, Evelyn McKechnie, of Toronto, Ontario.

Memorial services were held last weekend.

Memorial donations may be made to the OceanView Resident Assistance Fund.

Arrangements are by Independent Death Care, 471 Deering Ave., Portland.

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