Richard W. Alexander Sr.

SALISBURY — The cremated remains of Richard W. Alexander Sr. were delivered to the sea off the Atlantic Ocean at 3:04 p.m. at latitude N 026*16.135 and longitude W 080*00.753 on the 10th day of May, 2018. He is at peace according to his wishes. 

He died March 6, 2018.

Born in Schenectady, N.Y., on June 26, 1922, he was an only child who claimed to have lived in 35 different homes in his lifetime of 95 years. His lifespan gave cause to marvel. He had survived heart bypass surgery in the early 1970s. The stated prognosis was a hope for 10 more years. He made the best of his 50-year bounty.  

He enjoyed people. Young and old, family, friends and strangers alike responded to his offers of help. Time was his gift to all. 

As father of young children, he became the neighborhood toy fixer. Children were in awe of the many things he built. One of the many charming parade floats he built even had a Flintstone car, which won prizes in a local 4th of July parade. 

His interest in theater was limited to off-stage tasks such as building sets. One memorable one was a float depicting a lush tropical island for a performance at the local swim club. It was beautiful, but the synchronized swimmers didn’t appreciate the nice, shiny poison ivy leaves among the greenery. Dick’s love of theater followed him to a new venture: The Alexander family moved from New Jersey to Connecticut.

Salisbury was a treasure trove of open doors that greeted Dick and his family. They joined the activities.  Dick was soon cutting down old, donated wooden skis and making them into cross-country skis   appropriate for children learning to join the cross-country team. He helped shovel snow and manned the snack shack. The Winter Sports Association activities dwindled as warm weather approached.   Summer brought him back to his interest in theater. He served on the board of directors of Sharon Playhouse. But a more hands-on group was found with the Oblong Valley Players. Building sets was his forte. 

Other activities included antique cars, British-style croquet, and lessons in stone carving, learning not teaching.  

A born organizer, he led a number of groups in floats down the Erie Canal. Participants lashed eight or more canoes to a power boat. They sang their way from Highland Falls to Hudson, camping along the way at … Stations. His many talents and idiosyncrasies gave his family much dismay as well as laughter. He toilet-trained all their Siamese cats. He built table looms for a local weaver. He inherited a hand gun and kept it in the file cabinet under “G.” He built copies of Shaker furniture and toy trains, which he peddled at area craft fairs. 

As time moved on, the children grew and the grand-Alexanders arrived. Major changes developed. Dick partnered with Doris, his wife of 30 years, to buy what became known as the bed-and-breakfast, Yesterday’s Yankee. It was a perfect place for Dick to use his people skills and develop systems to make the business work. He never cooked a breakfast nor washed any dishes, but he did manage to burn a cup of tea.

Another purchase was a beautiful spot for retirement. Pine Grove in Falls Village became a summer home in a former Methodist encampment, still summer home to about 30 avid residents. One cottage is still in the Alexander family. Dick served on the first Architectural Review Board. His fixing skills are still evident today. 

But a winter home was needed and Florida provided the final three homes in Dick’s list of houses that became homes. 

Dick is survived by his wife of 68 years, Doris; his sons, Richard W. Alexander and his wife, Dona, and Mark C. Alexander; his grandchildren, Carrie Sherwood Alexander, Laura Sherwood Alexander and Matthew Martin Alexander; and great-granddaughter Pyper Alexander Bernoi.