LACONIA - Richard Chesebrough, 81, of Laconia passed away at home after a long battle with lung cancer.
The son of Joseph Cutler and Lois (Brown) Chesebrough, Richard was born in Westerly, R.I., on Jan. 29, 1930.
Richard grew up in Stonington, Conn., a coastal town co-founded in 1649 by his ancestor, William Chesebrough. His great-grandfather, Edward E. Bradley, was one of the three founders of the Mystic Seaport. Under the tutelage of his grandfather, Benjamin, Richard became proficient in both sail and power boating. He decided to pursue a nautical career and attended Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He graduated with a Coast Guard Third Mate's license and commission as Ensign in the Naval Reserve in September 1951, and then began a two-year tour of active duty that he voluntarily extended into a 20-year Naval career. He retired from the Navy in 1972, having earned the National Defense, Korean, American Expeditionary, Vietnam and United States Service Medals.
It was during his last tour of active Naval duty as head of the Department of Naval Science at SUNY Maritime College that Richard found his second career, director of Waterfront Activities and celebrated sailing coach for the college. It was then that he earned the moniker "Cheese" from his students.
In 1977, Cheese was asked to pilot the chase boat for the America's Cup defender, Enterprise. He went on to drive the chase boats for Cup winner Freedom (1980), and contenders Liberty (1983) and Stars and Stripes (1987).
In 1987, when Cheese returned from Australia where he had devoted 18 months to the successful effort to bring the America's Cup back to the U.S., he became a full-time competitive sailing volunteer. As a certified U.S. Sailing Umpire and Judge, he served both match and team races internationally and participated on a number of race committees, primarily in mark boats, until he retired for health reasons in 2010.
Cheese was a member of the New York and Manhasset Bay Yacht Clubs and the Storm Trysail Club.
Cheese was a volunteer at Lakes Region General Hospital and was very involved in his church.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dorothea; their children, Sylvia Murray and partner David Pringle of Norwich, Conn., Lois Wilder and husband David of Braselton, Ga., Wendy Lowe and husband Richard of Venice, Calif., and Steven Chesebrough and wife Patricia of Meredith; and their grandchildren, Sarah Murray of Bethany, Conn., Heather Murray of Bradenton, Fla., Benjamin Murray of Groton, Conn., Erin Wilder of Hoschton, Ga., and Ian Wilder of Tacoma, Wash.; a sister, Nancy Denison of Mystic, Conn.; and twin brother Donald of Gilford.
There will be no calling hours. A Celebration of Life is scheduled on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. at Saint James Episcopal Church, 876 No. Main St., Laconia.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. James Episcopal Church Scholarship Fund or the C. Thomas Claggett, Jr. Memorial Clinic & Regatta, 231 Indian Ave., Portsmouth RI 02871.
Published in NULL on Jan. 26, 2012.