Capt. Richard G. Spear ’43-2

Captain Richard “Dick” Spear, 96, died with his daughter at his side, Thursday, May 3, 2018, at the Sussman House in Rockport.

Captain Spear led a full and interesting life that included over 60 years in the Maritime field. At age 17, he was given a year’s leave of absence from high school to join an expedition sponsored by Harvard University to retrace the voyage of Christopher Columbus. This expedition was led by Professor Samuel Eliot Morison, a renowned naval historian of World War II. Sailing on the barkentine “Capitana,” logbooks used by Columbus and his crew were used to trace Columbus’ voyages through Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean, of which Morison received the Pulitzer Prize for his book recounting this adventure. A picture of Dick onboard the vessel was featured on the front cover of Life Magazine in 1940. At the end of the expedition, Spear returned to Rockland and graduated from high school in 1941.

In 1942, he enrolled in the second class of the newly established Maine Maritime Academy, where he graduated from the school’s second class in 1943, with honors, and with a third mate’s license. He was a commissioned ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, where he reported to the Liberty Ship “Henry Jocelyn.”

In the Merchant Marines during World War II, Captain Spear served in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean war zones. In later years, he received a bachelor’s of marine science degree, and held an unlimited master’s license for ships of any size, any tonnage, in any ocean.

In 1959, Captain Spear became the first employee and assistant manager of the Maine State Ferry Service. Later appointment manager of the Ferry Service, he held that position for 30 years until his retirement in 1989.

Holding a private pilot’s license, he enjoyed flying to many areas local and away. Upon retirement, he enjoyed traveling to many parts of the world, including the North Pole and Antarctica.

He was a member of numerous organizations including: The Portland Marine Society, The Boston Marine Society, the Marine Society of the City of New York, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, the Council of American Master Mariners, the Institute of Navigation, the Square Riggers Club of California, Master Mason Aurora Lodge #50, Scottish Rite Bodies, York Rite Bodies, Kora Shrine, National Sojourners, past director of Put Stevens Court 107 of the Royal Order of Jesters, a Life Member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was the Past President of the Maine State Pilotage Commission and was a former member of the Rockland Personnel Board.  He remained a member of the Rockland Harbor Management Committee, the Maine State Ferry Service Advisory Board, and the Rockland Port District since 1959, where he served as the City of Rockland’s longest-seated elected official.

He was a wonderful husband, father and friend, who was well-known for his easygoing manner, his dry sense of humor, and his willingness to help others.

Predeceased by his wife of 68 years, Dorothy, in 2015, Captain Spear is survived by his daughter, Linda and her husband, Frederick Batstone, of Boxborough, Mass.

Visiting hours will be held from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, May 10, 2018, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland, where a celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, May 11, 2018. Pastor William Hickey will officiate. Private interment will be in Achorn Cemetery, Rockland.
To share a memory or story with Captain Spear’s family, please visit their online Book of Memories at

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the:
Maine Maritime Academy
Alumni Association
Attn: Alumni Office
One Pleasant Street
Castine, ME 04420