YARMOUTH — Richard G. Stebbins, 68, died Sept. 17 at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough surrounded by his family.
Born May 20, 1943, in Providence, R.I., one of two sons of Edward S. Stebbins and Elizabeth Barlow, he was raised in Cranston, R.I. and received a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Texas A&M University.
A scientist and a humanist, he was equally committed to both perspectives and to living a personal and professional life that reflected the best of both worlds.
He began his professional career as a professor of chemistry at Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va., and came to the University of Southern Maine in Portland in 1983.
At USM, he taught physical and analytic chemistry, and served as chair of the Chemistry Department. In 1992 he was appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a position he held for 5 years. He returned to the classroom following his tenure as Dean and served as director of a National Science Foundation grant to improve the teaching of math and science. He retired as a Professor in 2007.
He was known to his colleagues for his honesty, pragmatism, and respect for the integrity and hard work of others. As a teacher he was absolutely committed to his students and their scientific and intellectual development.
His personal life was as important to him as his professional life, and he enjoyed rich friendships with colleagues, neighbors, and a wide-range of friends from several continents. He completed sabbaticals in Hawaii, Montana, Sweden and Botswana; traveled in China, Africa, Europe, Central and South America; and led student trips on the Rio Grande.
An experienced hiker and camper, and a skilled fly fisherman, he took fishing trips to Alaska, Labrador, Montana and in Maine.
He was a wonderful conversationalist and storyteller, and could be “salty” or refined, as the situation required. But he was always true to his working-class roots and to doing things simply and directly.
Above all else, he loved his family. His daughters Kelly, Kim and Hilary were a source of great happiness to him, and they and their families played a central role in his life. His brother Ted shared his passion for fishing, football and the Red Sox, and was his lifelong friend and companion in the enjoyment of all three.
His partner, Nancy Austin, was his constant companion for the last 20 years of his life, sharing in his work, travel and family life. They were deeply devoted to their work in science and math education, to traveling and exploring the world, and to each other.
Survived are his three daughters, Kelly Hood, her husband Robert, and children Abby and Sam of Fairfax, Va.; Kim Leonard, her husband Alan, and children Laura and Jack of Salem, Va.; and Hilary Stebbins and her partner Rob Barr of Fredericksburg, Va.; his brother Edward “Ted” Stebbins and his wife Jean of Warwick, R.I.; his partner, Nancy J. Austin of Yarmouth; and her two sons, Keith Baron, his partner Kelly Leeman, and son Richie Bowman of Manchester, N.H.; and Brian Baron, his wife Emily, and children Adrian and Finn of Marblehead, Mass.
A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Mt. Washington Room, The Commons at Pineland Farms, New Gloucester.
Please visit lindquistfuneralhome.com to share your condolences, memories and tributes with hiss family.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the loving caregivers from the Gosnell Memorial House, Mercy Hospital CCU, Advantage Home Care, Just Friends, and Ed Dame who offered support and love to him over the last two years.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to one of the following organizations: Hospice of Southern Maine, Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, 180 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, ME 04074 or online at hospiceofsouthernmaine.org; American Parkinson Disease Association, 5 Bucknam Road, Suite 1A, Falmouth, ME 04105; or the Lewy Body Dementia Association, 912 Killian Hill Road, S.W., Lilburn, GA 30047 or online at lbda.org.