, Gloucester, MA


June 17, 2013

Fishtown Local: A hole in Gloucester's fabric

There won’t be another like him for some time.

Richard Gaines was a total original. Gloucester lost one of its best last week. He leaves an enormous hole in our community, and I’m not sure we ever will be able to fill it.

Reporter Gaines was a complete throwback to the golden age of his profession, back to the 1930’s and ‘40’s, when newspaper reporting was a contact sport, when pounding the pavement and hard work was part of the regimen. When Gaines got a hold of a story, watch out, because he was going to put life on the bones of that story. He would flesh it out until it was practically sitting in your living room reading itself out loud to you.

Richard passed at the top of his game. He had been part of the founding era of the Boston Phoenix, when that paper meant more editorially to Boston. He had exposed some very shady dealings in the 1980’s from some even more shady characters and had spent some sketchy times staying out of their retributive grasp. The Phoenix gave the other Boston papers headaches back then and it was Richard at the heart of it.

He delighted in making trouble for people who lived in high social places and people who lurked in low moral places. It was a heady, exciting time for him and the paper, which became a “hot property.” But it kind of outgrew its troublemaker potential and, as time passed, became less confrontational and edgy in more corporate times that lay ahead.

Richard, however, had lifelong childhood ties to Gloucester and had snuck out of Beantown over the decades in his country mouse self. Richard relocated to Bay View, to a wonderfully idyllic spot up in the spacious canopies of Quarry Street where he could spread out and shut out the world. He had married the wonderfully brilliant editor Nancy Gaines, who had put the Boston Business journal on the map in a very short time. They were living happily ever after in their professional and private lives, both continually making the waves they were known for in the publishing world.

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