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Richard G. Stebbins, 68
YARMOUTH -- Richard G. Stebbins, 68, of Yarmouth passed away on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough surrounded by his family.
Dick was 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 BS from Wesleyan University and a PhD in Chemistry from Texas A&M.
Dick was a scientist and a humanist, equally committed to both perspectives and to living a personal and professional life that reflected the best of each. He began his professional career as a professor of chemistry at Bethany College in Bethany, W.V., and came to the University of Southern Maine in Portland in 1983. At USM, Dick 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 (MMSTEC) to improve the teaching of math and science. He retired as a Professor in 2007.
To those who worked with Dick, he was known for his honesty, pragmatism, and respect for the integrity and hard work of others. He was plain spoken but considerate, flexible but never a push over, and as a teacher absolutely committed to his students and their scientific and intellectual development. He brought the same values to his work as Dean, and sought to support his colleagues even as he worked for improvements in teaching and scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Dick's personal life was as important to him as his professional life, and he enjoyed rich friendships with colleagues, neighbors, and accumulated friends from several continents. He completed sabbaticals in Hawaii, Montana, Sweden and Botswana, and traveled widely in China, Africa, Europe, and Central and South America. He led student trips on the Rio Grande, fished for salmon in Alaska and Labrador, and for trout in Montana and Maine. He was an experienced hiker and camper, a skilled fly fisherman, and a wonderful conversationalist and storyteller. He 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.
Richard G. Stebbins
Lindquist Funeral Home
Funeral Home & Cremation Service
Above all else, Dick 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 avid companion in the enjoyment of all three.
Dick's partner, Nancy Austin, was his constant companion and collaborator 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.
Dick is survived by 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.; and 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 Dick's life will be held Saturday, Oct. 1 from 1-4 p.m. in the Mt. Washington Room, The Commons at Pineland Farms, New Gloucester. Please visit
to share your condolences, memories and tributes with Dick's 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 Dick over the last two years.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Dick Stebbins's name to the following:
Hospice of Southern Maine
Gosnell Memorial Hospice House
180 US Rte 1
Scarborough ME 04074 or online at
c/o 5 Bucknam Road, Suite 1A
Falmouth , ME 04105 or
Lewy Body Dementia Association 912 Killian Hill Road, S.W.
Lilburn, GA 30047 or online at
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Sept. 25, 2011
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"Ted My sincere condolences to the Stebbins family. I have fond memories of our days together on the..."
"I hardly knew Dick, who was dean when I retired in 1995. To my surprise, he asked me to address Arts..."
- Bill Slavick
"Chippy and I were in Provincetown,MA the last week of Sept. Arrived home at 0230 pm on Oct. 1. We..."
- Maurice Chabot
"Dear Nancy, It was so sad to hear that Dick passed away and so sorry for your loss. Dick was an..."
- Bart Weyand
"I was saddened to hear of Dr. Stebbins passing. As a former student of his at USM, Dr. Stebbins or Dick..."
- Jamie Chamberlain
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