On many a morning, Richard Gaines would walk through the front doors of the Gloucester Daily Times, exchange a few brief hellos, and then walk briskly to his desk in the far left corner of the newsroom, sit down and make the first of what would seem like hundreds of phone calls.
“I’m going to cause some trouble today,” he’d proclaim.
He would mouth those words with both a twinkle in his eye and a profound sense of pride.
For Gaines, gone suddenly at 69 after being found dead in his swimming pool Sunday, relished causing trouble for officials and others who had wrongly caused trouble for residents — and especially, in recent years, for Gloucester’s, New England’s and the nation’s fishermen.
A 40-year journalist — primarily covering Statehouse and Gloucester City Hall politics — and an 11-year veteran of the Gloucester Daily Times, Gaines was remembered Monday by state and local officials and especially by fishermen and advocates for the industry for his persistent and expansive coverage of fishery issues once he jumped into a coverage beat created at the Times in 2008.
“The fishermen — Gloucester fishermen and fishermen everywhere — have lost a real, true friend,” said longtime City Councilor John “Gus” Foote, who dealt with Gaines for years on City Hall issues and paid a visit to the Times Monday to extend condolences on Gaines’ passing. “We didn’t always see everything eye-to-eye, but we respected each other. He was a good, good man.”
An ‘extinguished light’
“It’s like a light has been extinguished — a light that always kept looking for the truth,” attorney and former New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang said. “He not only was a great investigative journalist, but he could present what he had found in a way that changed and forged public opinion.”