Richard Archie “Dick” Dodge, 88, of Seabrook, N.H., died peacefully with his two children by his side on December 15, 2020, from natural causes.
Dick was born February 4, 1932 in Los Angeles, and grew up in San Francisco where he graduated from Lowell High School. After high school, Dick enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Korean war, where he served four years as an electronics technician. After his naval service, Dick enrolled at San Francisco State University, where he graduated with honors with a degree in biological sciences. Dodge then attended the University of Arizona, where he earned his PhD in Botany in 1963. His doctoral research examined the ecological relationships of the Ponderosa Pine in Southwest Arizona.
Dick then taught botany and biological science at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California until 1967 when he was appointed as the first dean of science and natural resources at the newly opened Columbia Junior College in Columbia, California. Dick was instrumental in the opening of Columbia Junior College, and headed up the planning committee responsible for the design, equipping, and staffing of the college’s new science facility, in addition to the development of the initial science curriculum.
Dodge left Columbia College in 1972 after being appointed as director of education and communications of the American Institute of Biological Sciences in Washington, D.C. It was there that he met his second wife, Sophie Saad of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Dick and Sophie later moved to Ridgecrest, California in 1977, where he served as dean of instruction of Cerro Coso Community College before retiring in 1999 and subsequently moving back to Sophie’s beloved New England in 2001.
Dick served on numerous science- and education-related boards, commissions, and committees throughout his career, and was a frequent speaker at various professional conferences. One of his favorite board appointments was serving on the California Water Quality Control Board for the Lahontan Region of Lake Tahoe. He was also acknowledged for numerous contributions to science textbooks, journals, and newsletters. While in Ridgecrest, he and Sophie also developed a small pistachio farm. Dick also wrote a weekly science and agriculture column for the local newspaper.
In his spare time Dick was active in Rotary and local politics. He was a licensed pilot and accomplished sailor, and even built a 25-foot Trimaran, which he and his family enjoyed for years on the San Joaquin Delta in California.
Dick is survived by his wife of 46 years, Sophie Dodge; daughter Katie Messer of Orange Park, Florida; son Richard Dodge, Jr. and his wife Stacey of Sonora, California; granddaughter Rori Wylie and her husband Jordan, also of Sonora; grandsons Kyle Dodge and fiancé Daniele of Hollister, California; Grant Dodge and fiancé Claire of Reno, Nevada; and First Lieutenant Michael Danko and his wife Kaitlyn of Richmond Hill, Georgia. He is also survived by his four great grandsons, along with eight nephews and their spouses in the greater Boston and Lawrence areas. He will be greatly missed.
A Memorial Service will be held at St. Anthony Church, Lawrence, MA at a date and time to be announced by Dick’s family.
Donations in Dick's memory may be made to the charity of one's choice
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