Obituary for Richard Holcombe
Richard Maynard Holcombe passed away peacefully at home on February 16, 2017, after 97 years of productive and fulfilling years. He was preceded in death by Bethany, his wife of 68 wonderful years, and is survived by his three children, Norman (Barbara), James (Donna), and Louise (Jeff), as well as 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Richard was born on February 2, 1920 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he grew up in the shadow of Harvard University, his father being a professor. He attended the Belmont Hill School, preparatory to Harvard, where he excelled as a student and athlete. His Harvard career, like so many, was interrupted by World War Two, and he was sent by the Air Force to California Institute of Technology to become a meteorologist. His wartime activities included serving as the weather officer for mapping efforts in South America and the southwest Pacific, with the Fourth Photo Charting Squadron.
Following the war, and the "path of least resistance", as he put it, Dick gained employment as a meteorologist with Pan American Airlines, a job he held until the government took over the forecasting business. This led to a 24-year career as a Marine Climatologist, later Oceanographer and Special Staff Assistant with the Naval Oceanographic Office. A recipient of many commendations and awards, he retired in 1974.
Dick placed the highest value on God, his wife, family, and friends. He enjoyed square and round dancing, sailing, tennis, jogging, and whitewater canoeing/kayaking, where he became a very active member of the Canoe Cruisers Association along with his family. He was involved in baby-sitting dogs and grandchildren, helping civic associations, patrolling, teaching, and boat inspecting for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, bird-watching, and addressing illiteracy as president of the Historyland Learning Council in Montross, Virginia, where he built his own home following retirement. Both he and Bethany sang in their church choir and he served as church secretary for the men.
A gathering to celebrate Dick's life will be held at 1:30 on Saturday, March 11, at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Annapolis, 710 Ridgely Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Westmoreland County Public School Scholarship Fund, in care of Larry D. Green, CPA, P.O. Box 639, Montross, VA 22520.