To the editor:
A beacon of light and information was suddenly extinguished in our city last weekend.
Richard Gaines’ untimely death leaves a void in the reporting of the lives of the citizens of Gloucester.
I had the privilege of knowing Richard for many years. I used to tease him about his sartorial deficiencies and told him that he would never be a Tom Wolfe writer nor appear in GQ. He just shrugged his shoulders and smiled.
But what Richard lacked in appearance he more than made up for in his passion for the truth. He was always on the side of the underdog and he hated governmental bodies, federal, state or local, trying to run roughshod over the lives and rights of every day citizens simply because they could.
His dogged determination in rooting out and exposing all the inequities and secrets in the federal government’s war against the New England fishing industry and his beloved Gloucester fishermen was driven by an overwhelming belief that it just wasn’t right and that the fishermen shouldn’t be singled out for destruction, especially based upon very faulty statistics.
He just didn’t report the news, he understood the news and the impact that it would have on our everyday lives.
He approached state and local politics the same way. His years of experience in the political arena gave him insights that many others didn’t possess. We often had “discussions” on the pros and cons of various issues and politicians which were enlightening for both of us.
To steal a familiar quote, “He didn’t suffer fools lightly.” But I also had the honor to see another side of Richard, and that was his compassion and sympathy for our veterans.
He went out of his way to report on issues involving veterans in the City of Gloucester and he was unafraid to ruffle a few feathers if necessary if he felt veterans were not being treated fairly.
Richard had this deep desire to help our veterans, especially Vietnam veterans, understand that they were not forgotten and that they deserved our support. He made sure that our citizens always remembered that also.
For that, he will always have the everlasting respect and admiration of the veterans of the city of Gloucester.
I know that wherever he is, Richard will be driving the powers-that-be made with his incessant questions and investigations. I would expect nothing less.
But back here on Earth, his passing leaves an extremely large void, and he will be sorely missed.
Goodbye my old friend — and God speed.
MARK L. NESTOR
Middle Street, Gloucester