Richard "Dick" Meader,76, passed away on Oct. 16, 2022, surrounded by his loving and supportive family. He was a good husband and an even better father and grandfather. A humble man with a sense of humor, he insisted his obituary be short. (Is that even possible?!)
The son of Arlene and Everett Meader, Dick was raised on a farm in Solon, where he and brother Bob were legendary Solon High School basketball and baseball players for Coach Ray Leary. Dick is proof that coming from a small town can lead to a successful and rewarding career. His dream of becoming a coach came true.
When Dick arrived at Farmington State Teachers College in 1964, he soon became one of the top college players in Maine under Coach Len MacPhee. His ball-handling and passing skills filled the bleachers at Dearborn Gymnasium. From scoring 40 points and making 19 consecutive free throws in one game to receiving the most votes for the inaugural Maine small college basketball team, he had an impressive career. Perhaps his crowning moment was when Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek leaped to his feet in amazement at one of Dick's plays in the Boston Garden his senior year.
In baseball, Dick led the Farmington State College team in hitting as a senior and received the MVP Award under Coach Roger Wing. He graduated as all-time stolen base leader.
Following graduation in 1968, Dick married college classmate Betty-Jane Stanhope from Dover-Foxcroft and began his coaching career as the freshman basketball coach at Nokomis High School in Newport, where they became best friends with Sue (Greenleaf) and Jim Flynn now of Monson during the summer months. In 1970, he served as the University of Maine at Orono graduate assistant under Coach Skip Chappelle while earning his master's degree.
From 1971 to 1988, Dick was the Thomas College men's basketball coach, and from 1972 to 1990, he was the director of athletics. Dick coached his brother Don in basketball for four years and his brother Bruce in baseball for two years. While at Thomas, he co-founded the Pine Tree Basketball Camp with Dick Whitmore in 1973; the camp involved over 37,000 players and 6,000 coaches in 38 years.
After a short hiatus in order to watch his sons' Waterville High School games, Dick returned to his alma mater to coach basketball and baseball and later coached his two sons, Lance and Daren. At the University of Maine at Farmington, he took pride in recruiting and coaching predominantly Maine players; many of them, like himself, were from small towns. Coach Meader was also proud of the number of his former players who joined the coaching ranks.
Over Dick's 44-year career as a head college coach, he led his basketball teams to 513 wins and received 16 Coach-of-the Year awards. He was inducted into five athletics halls of fame: 1994 Thomas College Sports Hall of Fame, 1995 University of Maine at Farmington Athletics Hall of Fame, 2015 New England Basketball Hall of Fame; 2015 Maine Basketball Hall of Fame, and 2018 Maine Sports Hall of Fame. In 2020, he received the National Association of Basketball Coaches Outstanding Service Award. That year, the UMF Athletics Hall of Fame Room was to be named after him. The night following Dick's stroke, Thomas College planned to dedicate the Athletics Hall of Fame digital wall in the new Sukeforth Family Sports Center to Dick and his wife, who taught at Thomas for 41 years.
When Dick's Parkinson's disease became progressive, he retired in 2020. Thanks to the assistance of Jamie Beaudoin, his former UMF player, a previous UMF women's basketball and men's soccer coach, and now director of athletics, Dick was able to coach until the pandemic began.
Dick is survived by his wife of 54 years, Betty-Jane Meader; his sons, Lance and his wife Amy of Falmouth and Daren and his wife Jennifer of Gorham; his grandchildren, Jace, Jaelyn, Drew, and Bode Meader; his step-grandchildren, Jackson, Georgia, Griffin, and Hudson Banks; brothers Bob and his wife Pam of Portland, Bruce and his husband Joe DiLorenzo of Saco, and Don and his wife Melissa of Oakland; surviving aunt, Beverly Shaughnessy of Skowhegan; close cousin, Norma Gorham of Saco; sister-in-law Nancy Smith and her husband Steve of Stonington and Port St. Lucie; brother-in-law James Stanhope and his wife Laney of Tampa and Winslow; brother-in-law Robert Stanhope and his wife Fran of Raymond; and several nieces and nephews and their children.
A celebration of life is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m. in the University of Maine at Farmington Dearborn Gymnasium on 163 High Street. Doors will open at 1 p.m. This event will be live streamed as well; go to umfbeavers.com for updated information. A reception will follow in the South Dining Hall in the Olsen Student Center on 111 South Street.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dick Meader's memory to University of Maine at Farmington Athletics by visiting goumfbeavers.com/giving or by mailing a check to Ferro Alumni Center, 224 Main Street, Farmington, ME 04938
Thomas College Athletics by visiting www.thomas.edu/give and choosing Athletics-General or by mailing a check to Advancement Office, Thomas College, 180 West River Road, Waterville, ME 04901 and noting Athletics in the memo line.