Cover photo for Richard Gadbois's Obituary
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1941 Richard 2024

Richard Gadbois

May 24, 1941 — January 4, 2024

Richard “Dick” Arthur Gadbois, of Franklin, VT, died peacefully and on his own terms, Thursday, January 4th surrounded by his loving family at UVM Medical Center.

Dick was born on May 24, 1941, in Monroe, NC to Eleanor and Richard Gadbois. When Dick was 4, his family moved to St. Albans, VT where his parents operated the Jesse Welden Inn. His family later moved to Sheldon, VT where they operated the Portland Inn. His mother’s New Year’s Eve party and Swedish buffet were legendary around the county.

Following her early passing (Dick was only 9 years old), the family moved back to St. Albans where his father continued in the hotel business and ran the Blue Lion Restaurant. Dick graduated in 1959 from St. Mary’s High School in St. Albans. The class held reunions every five or ten years and for the past few years they also met monthly for lunch at Jeff’s Seafood. Dick always looked forward to these get togethers.

Dick matriculated to St. Michaels College where he met and married Marjorie Croft (of Bakersfield) in 1962. After his freshman year, they moved to Boston where Dick earned his undergraduate and law degree from Boston University while working multiple part-time jobs and graduating at the top 10% of his law school class. During that time, their two children, John Albert and Elizabeth Ann, were born. He was admitted to the Vermont Bar in 1968 and retired on August 31, 2023.

Shortly after graduating from BU, the family returned to St. Albans and Dick began his long and illustrious career in law. In 1975 they bought their first home in Franklin, VT where Dick lived for the remainder of this life. In 1992 he married the love of his life, Pauline “Polly” Wright.

A career spanning six decades, Dick was a highly respected litigator and advocate for those who needed a champion. His vast resume includes State’s Attorney, St. Albans City Attorney, Chairman of the WHEY Authority, an owner of Sherman Hollow, serving on the Franklin Planning Commission and a volunteer EMT with Franklin Rescue for over 20 years. In addition, he was an advocate, judge, husband, father, grandfather and friend to name just a few. Many awards, citations and commendations also followed him throughout his career. He rarely turned anyone in true need away and more than one client paid him with jars of jam, pickles or a chicken if that was all they could offer. He loved being a lawyer and valued intellect, the truth and knowledge above all else. He was determined, strong and unstoppable in his quest to better his life.

Dick’s passions were numerous, but motorcycles and golf were at the very top. He owned and operated a motocross track in Berkshire, VT and even took apart his beloved Goldwing motorcycle in the living room one winter to painstakingly restore it piece by piece. In 1985 he closed his practice for six weeks, hopped on this BMW Dakar motorcycle and headed to Alaska. He traveled the southern Canadian provinces on his way up to visit his son John in Alaska and returned via the northern US. A trip of a lifetime he always said. In high school he earned extra money as a caddy at the Champlain Country Club and was even crowned Flight B champion one year. Some years later his love for golf was renewed when he and Polly took up the sport together. They played most all the Vermont courses but Enosburg Falls Country Club was their home course and you’d find them there many a summer night.

For most all his life, Dick collected memorabilia, art and antiques. He proudly created the most complete Vermont milk bottle collection in the state and amassed a wide range of vintage dairy related items. It is truly staggering. He also collected stamps, coins, golf balls, Hawaiian shirts and so many more objects of beauty. Dick and Polly would regularly go to auctions together, sitting in the front row. Every auctioneer in Vermont knew them personally. They also shared a fondness for the theater and especially Broadway! On their many trips to NYC they would gobble up seven or more shows, save all the Playbills and then relish each and every moment years later.

But his most favorite way to spend time was simply being with Polly and their dog Samantha (or Sammie G as she is known). They loved their camp at Lake Carmi, rides in the BMW convertible on warm summer nights and simple quiet evenings talking for hours with one another at home. Their love story was decades long and each was truly blessed with having the other.

Dick leaves behind his soulmate and wife Polly, his two children John (wife Jolene) and Beth (partner Chip Dillon), his two step-children Pam Deuso (husband Howard) and Tom Patterson (wife Jeri), his grandchildren Ethan and Jacob, step-grandchildren Adam, Timmy, Anthony, Billy, Alex, Erika, Kelli, and Carson, and seven step-great grandchildren. Dick was predeceased by his father and mother, Richard and Eleanor Gadbois; his first mother-in-law, Florence Croft; his father and mother-in-law, Harrison and Geraldine Wright, his step-daughter, Patricia Patterson Labor and his brother-in-law, Roger Wright.

The family has chosen to establish the “Gadbois Family Trust” to honor Dick and help young people like himself who need financial support to reach their educational aspirations. Dick believed in a hand-up, not a hand-out. He modeled his life by working tirelessly to make so much out of nothing and exemplified that credo. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the trust in his memory. Donations in his honor may be mailed to Vaughn Comeau, Esq., P.O. Box 1323, Enosburg Falls, VT 05450.

Final services will be private and held at the convenience of the family. But mark your calendars for Saturday, May 25th and please join us for a celebration of Dick’s life (and his birthday) at his home on the State Park Road in Franklin. Hawaiian shirts are highly encouraged! More details to follow.

The family would like to extend special thanks to all the caregivers at UVM Medical Center who helped make Dick’s last days filled with dignity, kindness, great respect and grace.

If a man leaves a legacy, let Dick’s be that he chose light over darkness. He overcame some tremendous obstacles as a young person that would truly break most of us. He had an unstoppable work ethic, great inner strength and an unwillingness to ever quit. He chose a life that continually gave back to his community and individuals who needed just a little extra hand to get them flying. At the end, he said all that mattered was love. He was so right. We know Dick is flying with the eagles now; he is so incredibly missed, and forever loved.

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