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Harold Gilbert Rich

Obituary
January 2, 1926 - January 20, 2020
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Rear Admiral Harold (Harry) G. Rich (US Navy Retired), age 94 of Harpswell died on Monday, January 20, 2020 at Mid Coast Hospital. Born in Searsport, Maine on January 2, 1926, he was the youngest of four children of Irving P. and Loretta S. Rich. He proudly joined the Navy eight days after graduation from Union High School in Union, Maine in 1943. He completed flight training and was commissioned as a naval aviator in June 1946. His first assignment was flying R5D(DC-4) aircraft in Air Transport Squadron Eight (VR-8) in Hawaii, during which he flew 127 missions to Berlin as part of the Berlin Airlift. He was assigned to several squadrons, including flying P2V-7s in Patrol Squadron Twenty-Three (VP-23) at NAS Brunswick, Maine. His first command tour was in Patrol Squadron Eight (VP-8) at Patuxent River, Maryland. His sea duty was aboard two aircraft carriers, USS Intrepid (CVA-11) and USS Wasp (CVS-18). During his tour as Operations Officer, Wasp was the primary recovery ship for the Gemini 9 and Gemini 12 spacecrafts. He then returned to Brunswick as Chief Staff Officer of the Fleet Air Wing for two years and a brief stint as Executive Officer/Commanding Officer of Brunswick Naval Air Station. His second command tour followed at NAS Bermuda as Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station and Commander of the Bermuda ASW Sector. While in Bermuda, he was selected for Flag Rank and, for the third time, returned to Brunswick as Commander Fleet Air Wings, Atlantic. His last operational tour was as Commander, Iceland Defense Force of Keflavik, Iceland, where he was awarded the Grand Knight's Cross with Star of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon. He then returned to Washington as Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel for Human Resource Management. He retired from the Navy in 1978 after 35 years of active service and returned to Maine, where he resided in Harpswell for over four decades and was active in civic affairs. While living in Harpswell, he served as a member of the  Brunswick Base Closure Task Force in both 1995 and 2005, was a Board Member of the Cundy's Harbor Library for 15 years, was a founding member of the Board of Directors and then Director Emeritus of the Brunswick Naval Aviation Museum, and served for nearly 20 years as President and then as President Emeritus of The Friends of Peary's Eagle Island. In 2018, a street at Brunswick Landing (former Navy Base) was named after him. He is survived by his three children, Sally Rich and her husband Adam Hewison of Harpswell, Michael Rich of Chuluota, Florida, and Steven Rich and his wife Bonnie of Oveido, Florida, as well as by his two grandchildren, Kate Fergus and her husband Colin of Columbia, Maryland and Andrew Rich of Chuluota, Florida. Harry's family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Avita of Brunswick for all their hugs, kisses, and great care.

 A funeral service will be held at 10 AM on Tuesday, February 25th at Stetson's Funeral Home, 12 Federal Street, Brunswick. 

 In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations be made in his name to: The Friends of Peary's Eagle Island, P.O. Box 43, Harpswell, ME 04079 or Brunswick Naval Aviation Museum, 179 Admiral Fitch Drive, Brunswick, ME 04011.

 Memorial condolences may be expressed at stetsonsfuneralhome.com