Shirley K. Klimavicz Richard

March 23, 1929September 25, 2011

Shirley Arveen Klimavicz Richard, 82, passed away on Sunday September 25, 2011, after a long illness.

She was born March 23, 1929, in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, the daughter of Anthony and Dorothy (Dunphy) Klimavicz.

She attended Husson College where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business and later earned her Master’s Degree from the University of Maine at Orono. In 1986, she was inducted into the Husson College Sports Hall of Fame for basketball and in 1991; she was named Outstanding Alumnus at Husson. In 1991, she received an Honorary Doctorate from Husson College where was “hooded” by her close friend, Senator Margaret Chase Smith. In 1997, Shirley was cast to play the role of Senator Margaret Chase Smith, in the local production of “A Woman of Destiny” and for many years presented Senator Smith’s “Declaration of Conscience” speech to various organizations. Shirley started her teaching career in 1949 at Mattanawcook Academy, Pemetic High School, Skowhegan High School, and Madison High School where she continued to work until her retirement in 1979. While teaching business and English at Madison High School, she met and married Alexander Richard in 1954. In the fall of 1994, the Alex and Shirley K. Richard Academic Wing was dedicated in their honor. There was also a scholarship set up in Alex Richard’s name for a deserving student that is given out each year.

Shirley was active in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), and a member of the GFWC/Madison Woman’s Club for more than 50 years and a past president. She also served as president for the GFWC/Maine Federation of Women’s Clubs (MFWC). Her President’s Project was the establishment of a trust fund for the purchase of books at the Carnegie Library at Good Will-Hinckley. In 1992, for the 100th celebration of the MFWC, She wrote the book entitled, “Historical Sketches—1950-1992.”, updated previous books preserving the history of the MFWC. She was also member of the Board of Directors for the GFWC from 1988 through 2004.

In 1969, Shirley wrote a book on the life and works of Florence Burrill Jacobs, a noted Maine author from East Madison.

In 1983, Shirley was appointed to the State Board of Education. In 1995, she followed her husband’s footsteps and served for four terms as a State Representative, representing District 97.

She was a past president of several organizations, which included the Maine Council of English Language Arts, Maine and Madison Teachers’ Association, Somerset County Retired Teachers’ Association, Women’s Legislative Council and Lakewood Ladies Golf Association. She was a communicant at St. Sebastian Church where she was also president of the parish council and a lector. Each year, the Maine Council of English Language Arts presents an annual Shirley K. Richard Award to an outstanding Maine English teacher.

Shirley also served on the Board of Trustees of Husson College, The Board of Directors of the Margaret Chase Smith Library, a member of the Madison Historical Society, and as a Trustee of the Madison Library. She served as the Master of Ceremonies of the Father Rasle Days and in 1999, the Town of Madison dedicated their annual report to Shirley for her “contributions to help elevate this community to its fullest potential, for teaching your students to strive to be all they could be, and for caring and dedicating your life to the service of others.”

She is survived by her cousins, John Klimavicz of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Richard Dunphy of San Francisco, California, Paul Klimavicz of Lisbon Falls, Patricia Woodward of Portland, Katherine Wright of Plainsfield, CT, Richard Douglas of CA, Edward Craine of Dover-Foxcroft, as well as many nieces and nephews. Shirley is predeceased by her parents, her loving husband in 1994, and a sister, Barbara Klimavicz.

The family of Shirley wishes to extend grateful appreciation to the following family and friends who provided their time, love and care through the years; special cousin John and Gynne Klimavicz, special relatives; Rosalie Perkins, Karen Deady, Diane Bourossa, Robert Hupper and Toby Gower, friends; Don and Nelda Chase, and Davida Barter. A special thanks to Oak Grove and nursing staff for their excellent care during her last days.

Viewing hours will be held on Friday September 30, 2011 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Smart & Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan, Maine. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Saturday October 1, 2011 at 10 a.m. at St. Sebastian Catholic Church, Main Street, Madison, Maine, with a burial to follow at St. Sebastian Cemetery in Madison.

Donations may be made in Shirley’s memory to Alzheimer's Association, Maine Chapter, 383 US Route One, Suite 2C, Scarborough, ME 04074, Madison Public Library, 12 Old Point Ave., Madison, Maine 04950, Madison High School Scholarship Fund, 486 Main Street, Madison, Maine 04950, or to a Charity of one’s choice.


  • Viewing Hours

    Friday, September 30, 2011

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Saturday, October 1, 2011


Shirley K. Klimavicz Richard

have a memory or condolence to add?

George Demchak

October 3, 2011

As a student of Shirley's I knew she was a good teacher. It was after graduating I realized what a Great Teacher she was. Teaching, Madison and the State has lost not only an awesome teacher but a huge advocate of learning.

Thomas Richard

October 1, 2011

Thank you Aunt Shirley for all of the memories. You opened your home to my family throughout the years; my childhood was enriched by your generosity. As an adult, no trip to Madison was complete without a visit with you. You will be remembered, and missed.

Karin Klimavicz Deen

September 29, 2011

I was saddened to hear we all lost a member of our family. Cousin Shirley (or Aunt Shirley as I would call her) was a wonderful, caring, and inspirational woman. She always made time to help others, plus went above and beyond what most people would accomplish. She helped me out with projects in school, and then helped my children with theirs. I'll always cherish the times we spent together every summer, along with the letters she would send to me. Thank you Shirley for touching all of our lives. You will be deeply missed.

Carol and Butch Duguay

September 29, 2011

Aunt Shirley was an amazing person in every way. She always had a smile and made us feel so welcome when we would go to Maine for a visit. She gave so much back to her family and her community and was an inspiration to us all. Thinking of her and Uncle Alex with love. Carol and Butch Duguay

Joy York

September 28, 2011

To the family of Shirley Richard,
As a former resident of Madison and a 1973 graduate from Madison High School I wish to send my deepest sympathy to her family and close friends but remember she lives on as long as you keep her close in your thoughts and heart.
In my prayers,

Nancy & Bill Barker

September 28, 2011

We are saddened to hear of the loss of Shirley Richards, always such a special part of the Margaret Chase Smith Library gatherings we were privileged to attend. Hers was surely a long and distinguished career. And, how wonderful that she touched so many lives, as did her dear friend Senator Smith.

Farolyn Wilson Hanscom

September 28, 2011

Shirley, Barbara and I were distant cousins through my father Clarence Wilson. We were classmates for a time at Husson College. She and Alex made a big mark on Maine. She will be missed by us all.

Phyllis Hanavan

September 28, 2011

My sympathies to Shirley Richard's family.To this day, I've always remembered her as my favorite teacher. She taught English my Junior year, and I still recall how she paused during class one day, started speaking about an entirely different topic....and proceeded to teach and emphasize the meaning of the word 'digress'. She was an accomplished woman and role model. I appreciated also the visit by her and Alex in 1979 when my Dad passed away. Regretfully, I cannot make her funeral, but will pray for her and the family. I was sorry to hear about the AZ; may she be at peace with God.

Phyllis Fogg Hanavan

Janelle Seavey

September 28, 2011

September 28, 2011
Though but one of the many students passing through her Senior English classroom, Mrs. Richard was literally unable to make me (and
each of us) feel anything but her utmost desire
to impart to us the best of herself as a teacher of English, whether it was all things Theban
from "Oedipus,the King" or assigning to us the
task of drawing of our personal conception of
Grendel from "Beowulf"(a drawing i still have
packed away with other school memorabilia),
she just brought such things to life for me. There is little left of that time, that place, or of
that era of growing up in a small mill town, it's
connectivity present everywhere. Mrs. Richard
certainly contributed to that greatly and we're
the better for it.
janelle nichols seavey
mhs class of 1972

— janelle seavey, oakland, maine

Kathryn Fogg Hill

September 28, 2011

Shirley was one of the best teachers I had. She had dignity which kept her classes in control as we had our first exposure to Shakespeare in the classroom. 1957 to 1961 was a very different time with more leisurely things occupying our minds than the hectic information media of today. We were born during WWII yet became adults during Vietnam. Shirley was one of those who helped stretch our minds so we make the transition to a different future. God Bless you Shirley and Alex.