Cover photo for Richard Eustace O'Shaughnessy's Obituary
Richard Eustace O'Shaughnessy Profile Photo
1931 Richard 2020

Richard Eustace O'Shaughnessy

June 8, 1931 — December 5, 2020

Richard (Dick) Eustace O’Shaughnessy died on December 5, 2020 at his home in Mirror Lake, NH after an extended period of declining health with his wife and daughter at his side. The facts: Dick was born in Plainfield, New Jersey on June 8, 1931, one of six children of Henry E., and Emma C. O’Shaughnessy. He lived in Seaford, Long Island, NY, for most of his formative years, and graduated from Mepham High School in 1949. He then attended The Hill School in Pottstown, PA for one post-graduate year. He was a member of the undefeated 1949 Hill School football team and won the National Prep school wrestling championship at 175 lbs. These accomplishments paved the way for his entrance to the University of Michigan. There he played football from 1951 to 1953 and was captain of the 1953 Michigan Wolverines football team. He was selected as the center on the 1952 All-Big Ten Conference football team and on the 1952 and 1953 Catholic All-America teams. His coach said, “Dick never made a bad snap from center.” He also won the Big Ten Conference heavyweight wrestling championships in both 1952 and 1953, and went on to the Olympic wrestling trials in Oklahoma. He and Winnie met when they were both classmates at the University of Michigan, and were married on August 28, 1954. They both graduated in 1955 and had seven children in the course of their 66 years together. The man: His athletic achievements were notable, but his accomplishments as a human being were what made him a beloved husband, father, coach, and friend. In his Hill School yearbook, his byline read: “He is a gentleman because his nature is kind and affable to every creature.” Under his high school picture, it read, “Our diligent leader.” When asked which of all his accomplishments he was most proud, he would immediately say, “Marrying Winnie.” When pressed, he would admit that being elected the captain of the Michigan football team was the most meaningful because it “came from my teammates.” The facts: After serving three years in the United States Air Force from 1956 to 1959, Dick spent 36 years as a football coach, teacher, and administrator at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He served as the head football coach for 20 years through the 1983 season. He also was a dorm master, science teacher, and served as the school's assistant director of athletics and physical education. The man: Throughout his career at The Hill, he was known for his fairness and kindness as the Dean of Students, and for his dedication and compassion as a coach and teacher. Coming from humble beginnings himself, he always had time to stop and talk to the grounds crew, the equipment guy and the kitchen workers. His children didn't know of his sports success when they were growing up, and even then, it was Mom who told them. In addition to his varsity coaching duties, he was in charge of supporting boys who were working off demerits in the gym, where he turned punishment into opportunities to learn and grow. He championed the struggling athlete because he himself had found success the hard way. As a walk-on player for the Wolverines, he rose to become the captain of the team despite set-backs that would have distracted and discouraged others. He washed dishes in a fraternity in between academics and practice. To train for football and wrestling, he dug ditches and worked on farms on Long Island in the summers. He was a living example of how being honest, generous, upright and hardworking leads to a rich and meaningful life. However, he would always give credit for his successes to others, especially three men who saw potential in this conscientious and dedicated young man: Frank Bissel, David Mercer and Cliff Keen. At every step in his life, he was indebted to them for their trust and encouragement. The facts: After retiring from The Hill in 1996, the family moved to Mirror Lake, NH. To subsidize his retirement, he learned how to be a blacksmith and opened The Country Forge, which was a thriving piece-of-the-past business. The man: How many horseshoes can one man hammer out before he finally gets one right? Many, many. But Dick was determined to learn, and ended up making “a horseshoe with your name on it” for 25 cents for countless kids who came into the shop. He always took the time to patiently explain the process of forging to these eager kids. He loved the challenge of shaping a piece of iron into something that was needed. When he and Winnie decided to restore an old 1790 house, Dick's faith that the old house would someday be a place of warmth and comfort buoyed the whole family's spirits as they tore down ragged insulation and hammered the old nails out of the boards. Over the next 50 years, Dick's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would come to know "the forge" in just the way he had envisioned. He and Winnie loved fly-fishing and spent numerous hours on local ponds as well as on various rivers all over the United States. In their later years, the lure of the prolific New Zealand waters drew them across the Pacific eleven times. Fishing was a source of peace and pleasure for him, though he always said, “Winnie is a better fisherman than I.” Hi moral compass was always true. He embraced the teachings of Jesus and lived the credo: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The family will always remember the day he spontaneously dove into a river to save a child who had been swept over a waterfall. That memory told them more about their father than any long lectures. Dick was always active in his church throughout his life, serving as altar server as a young boy, and later in life, as a minister of the Eucharist at St. Katharine Roman Catholic church. The facts: Dick leaves his sweetheart, Winifred Sarr (Winnie) and his seven children: Timothy Eustace and his wife Kathryn; Susan Warren and her husband, Lawrence; Patrick and his wife Beth; Ellen Nelson and her husband Mark; Andrew; Mary Doherty and her husband Dan; Ann and her husband Todd, 15 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at a later date. "In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to The Hill School 860 High St. Pottstown, PA 19464 to support financial aid in honor of Dick O'Shaughnessy, or to The Scholarship Fund, St. Katharine Drexel Church, P.O. Box 180, Wolfeboro, NH, 03894. For more information and online guestbook, please go to www,baker-gagnefuneralhome.com
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