Richard Conrad Charbonneau, 77, of Biddeford, Maine passed into the gates of heaven on January 15, 2020 after a brief illness. He was born on April 20, 1942, the son of Edward Charbonneau and Germaine (Bolduc) Charbonneau.
He was educated in Biddeford schools and graduated from St. Louis High School in 1960. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree (Science) from Nasson College in 1964 and his Master of Science degree (Chemistry) from Simmons College in 1979.
He was an educator at South Portland High School for 33 years teaching college prepatory chemistry and other sciences as well as being an assistant swim coach. Although retired from teaching for over 20 years, he was frequently contacted by former students to tell him what an impact he had on their professional careers. He was a life- long teacher, always eager to share his abundant knowledge of gardening, wood-working, science, and sports. He enjoyed watching all sports, especially the Red Sox (but only if they were winning!).
Richard and his twin brother Bob shared a great closeness and embarked on so many mischievous adventures together in their childhood. They served as altar boys at St. Joseph’s Church for several years. They enjoyed going out in their boat fishing and lobstering with their uncle, Dr. Robert J. Bolduc, Sr. twice a week during the summer. The family enjoyed the fruits of their bounty at backyard clambakes.
In 1973, Richard decided that he wanted to be a gentleman farmer and raise his own food, so the family purchased a 58-acre farm. The family had an enormous garden and raised every kind of animal you can think of. He also tapped the maple trees on the property, making his own maple syrup & candy.
He was always in search of the perfect recipe and enjoyed making a good home-cooked meal. He was an amazing woodworker who crafted many things such as seasonal welcome signs and scrollwork. He enjoyed selling some of his work at local craft shows with his wife Priscilla. He passed on his love of woodworking to his daughter Cyndy and granddaughter Cindy. He firmly believed that if you wanted something done right you did it yourself and imparted a strong work ethic to his 3 children.
He was an avid gardener in search of the perfect tomato! He would “start” his tomato seedlings indoors in the month of February. This gave him hope for Spring after endless Maine winters. A typical summer garden included tending to over 100 tomato plants. He shared his tomato bounty with friends and neighbors as well as the local soup kitchen. He passed on his love for science and gardening to son Scott. He loved all things blueberry and you could often find him picking wild Maine blueberries at an undisclosed location. He enjoyed and perfected the art of canning and jam and jelly making which he passed along to daughter Michelle. He developed a love for genealogy after daughter Michelle passed on her Ancestry family tree work to him in the 90’s. The genealogy bug bit him hard and he joined theYork County Genealogical Society of Franco-Americans and held positions of Secretary and Treasurer at the time of his death. He enjoyed helping people with researching their family tree. He was active in this group as well as the Biddeford French Club. He read books written in French to children at McArthur Library. He had a recreational clam digger’s license. He was a member of the St. Jean de Baptiste men’s social club for many years and served as Secretary/Treasurer.
We will always remember and treasure his generous and extremely loving nature. He was a wonderful Pepere and doted on his 5 grandchildren. He greatly enjoyed ‘Grandparents Day’ and any time he spent with them, especially holidays and summers spent on the beach.
He is survived by his wife Priscilla (Gagne); brothers Robert Charbonneau (Loanne) of Lakeland FL and Edward Charbonneau (Marti) of Melbourne, FL; daughters Michelle Clark (Ray) of Windham, ME, and Cynthia Charbonneau of La Mesa, CA and son Scott Charbonneau (Alpha Joy) of Reno, NV; grandchildren Cindy Clark, Elliot Clark, Melanie Clark, Ethan Clark, and Richard Edward Charbonneau.
A funeral is planned for Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church in Biddeford. Condolences, stories and photos may be shared at www.hopememorial.com. In lieu of flowers, donations in Richard’s memory may be made to the York County Genealogical Society of Franco-Americans, or to a charity of your choice.