By Richard Honan
I along with many other Winthrop residents were saddened last week when we heard of the passing of Dick Dimes. I have to consider myself very lucky to have known Dick Dimes for such a long time, not only as a friend, but as a mentor, a boat skipper and an advisor. Little did I know, what began sixty years ago, when he picked me to be his regular crew on his 17’00” one design Snipe sailboat, it would be a friendship that would last a lifetime. Yes, much sadness, but the two of us had great memories sailing together all over New England in the early 1960’s. My first date with my wife, Maryellen, fifty five years ago, was to take her sailing aboard Dick’s boat.
He was a hockey coach and along with Mort Buckley, was one of the founders of youth hockey in Winthrop. I would be there with the regular gang, every Saturday morning at 5:00am as Dick taught us the fundamentals of ice hockey. He was also a life long Winthrop Viking athletics fan, attending almost every hockey, basketball or football game through his 90’s.
Long after our sailing together ended, we would remain close friends. He was a role model for me and many more in Winthrop as he moved into politics. He was like the character, Clarence in the movie, “It’s a wonderful life”. A true family man, with his wife Margaret and his children, Ricky, Jon and Debbie. He always kept the best interests of the town close to his heart. He was a great advisor to me when I was running the “Winthrop Cares” Proposition 2 1/2 over ride back in 2009. Dick and I had many lively discussions, and being his friend didn’t mean we agreed on everything. Sometimes he was like talking to a rock.
He was an excellent wood worker, boat builder and handyman and one of the reasons that I began building wooden boats. Imagine how proud I was when he came to visit my shop with his son, Jonathan and grandson,Tyler to view the Melonseed sailboat that I was building. I was beaming with pride as he looked on approvingly at my boat building project.
The past few years, he would join me as we did day trips up to Marblehead as we inspected the boats being built at Redd’s Pond Yachts and then headed over to the Barnacle Restaurant for a lobster roll. Other days, we would drive up to Gloucester exploring the Gloucester Marine Railways, checking out my artwork at Gallery 53 on Rocky Neck and then over to the Causeway Restaurant for some fried clams and a big bowl of fish chowder.
Yes, I’m sad, very sad, but so, so very happy that I had Dick Dimes as a good friend in my life.
“There are good ships,Ê
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.Ê
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be.”