Richard Ira Millar, age 88, passed away on April 17, 2021, from complications following a fall. “Dick” joins his wife of 60 years, Patricia Ann (Smith) Millar in eternity. She predeceased him in 2019.
Born in Providence, RI on January 14, 1933, to Raymond Irving and Edna Muriel (Meyer) Millar, Dick enjoyed his childhood with his one sibling, Raymond Irving (Skip). While still in elementary school, the two were featured in the Providence Journal for their extensive model train layout.
His teenage summers were spent at Beach Pond in Voluntown, CT, along with many cousins with whom he still played canasta until the pandemic kept them home-bound.
Dick graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1954 with a major in agriculture. The first interview question he was asked when he applied for his first post-college job was, “Have you done your time, son?” So, he enlisted in the army and served in Germany for two years from 1954-1956.
Following his service in the army, he returned to URI where he earned his Master’s in Poultry Science. It was there he met Patty. They married in 1958 and he began his career in the poultry science industry working in both Illinois and New York. After the births of their four children, the family moved to Richmond, Rhode Island in 1967. Dick again returned to URI, this time as the East Farm Poultry Complex supervisor, state Poultry Cooperative Extension Specialist, and instructor.
Dick retired as an Associate Professor after 26 years having served as Chairman of the Department of Animal and Veterinary Science during the years 1975-1979. He also was a member of several state and regional agricultural committees, councils, and organizations including the RI Poultry Producers Association and the RI Agricultural Council.
The communities with which Dick was involved benefitted from his lifetime of service. He belonged to the Carolina-Richmond Volunteer Fire Department where he was treasurer for many years. He served on the Chariho School Committee and was a constant presence at Richmond Town Council meetings. As a member of Richmond Grange, he regularly volunteered at the Washington County Fairgrounds for over 50 years. He most recently served on the Richmond Planning Board and the Richmond Senior Activities Committee. The Kappa Rho Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity honored Dick for his decades of service as the alumni house manager with the Distinguished Fiji Award. Dick and Patty also supported a thriving town by providing land for a local church, fire department station, the Meadowbrook Waldorf School, and the Nature Conservancy.
Dick and Patty regularly attended St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church for over 50 years.
His life of service lives on through his children, who learned the importance of volunteering for a better world from both parents. Dick is survived by Dana K. Millar, (Gwynne); Narda L. Butler (Jay); Leah M. Arsenault (Joe); and Lorna J. Persson, (Steven); his grandchildren, Cameron, Jessica (Daniel), Zan (Skylar), Ali, Becky, Vanya, Courtney (Ryan), Chelsea, Kayleigh, Caleb, Pelle, Karly (Ryan), and Solveig; and his great-grandchildren: Reuben, Benji, Evie, and Felix. “Poppa” will be missed by his family, but will live on through one phrase he always used when faced with a disappointing outcome, “That’s the way it goes, Jimmy!”
A celebration of life will be held June 2, 2021 at 178 Nordic Trail, Charlestown, RI from 4-6 pm. All are welcome to come and celebrate Dick’s life with his family.
In lieu of flowers, please consider giving two hours of your time to a cause that will benefit your community.
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