Richard Gleason of Vineyard Haven died peacefully at home on Nov. 30. He was 84.

He was born in Dedham on Dec. 27, 1936, to Thomas and Gertrude Lebline Gleason, the fifth of six children. As a teenager, he volunteered at cleanup efforts for communities affected by Hurricane Carol in 1954.

In 1955 he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Korea, Germany and Italy as part of the 310th Fighter Bomber Squadron. He was proud of his time in the service and loved attending annual reunions at Sampson Air Force Base. After the service he held many jobs — from construction worker to garbage man — but ultimately had a long career with Montgomery/Kone Elevators and Escalators.

In 1983 he survived a devastating accident on the job. It left him with permanent injuries to his body but certainly not his spirit or sense of humor. Throughout his life, he spoke often of the elevator business and his co-workers.

In retirement he served his community as a volunteer at Cardinal Cushing Hospital (Good Samaritan) in Brockton.

Richard spent many years living with his family in Stoughton before retiring to his beloved Martha’s Vineyard. He leapt into a new career as a seasonal manager for the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission, keeping the beaches and the piping plovers safe from too many tourists. After his second retirement he served the children of the Island as a crossing guard for the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools. He helped at the Edgartown movie theater, on occasion, for the free popcorn.

In his spare time, he loved reading history and adventure novels and watching his beloved history programs on repeat. He built sets and acted with the Little Theater of Stoughton and coached Pop Warner football.

He collected woodworking tools both old and new, working and not working, and loved creating things with his hands, especially practical items. He loved his pets. He loved meeting up for coffee and sitting down to a giant bowl of vanilla ice cream.

For 60 years, Richard was a beloved husband to Mary Jo. He was the father of sons Michael and Jonathan and his fiance Gillian O’Callaghan; daughters Kristine Hudzik and her husband Gregory and their sons, Colin and Joshua, and Katherine Sardino and her husband Nicholas; daughter in law Heather; and grandfather to Hannah, Sophia, Ella, Rosalie and Gavin.

He was predeceased by his siblings Patricia Sheehan, Geraldine McVaney, Thomas, Harold and Joseph.

Services for the family will be held for family on Friday morning at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

His family would like to thank Hospice, which allowed Richard to remain at home near the end of his life.

Donations can be made to the MV Center For Living at or by mail, P.O. Box 1729, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or to VNA Hospice of Cape Cod and the Islands, online at

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