Richard W. Thorpe

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 2:45pm

Richard “Rick” Warren Thorpe was born on July 25, 1933 in Boston, Massachusetts and passed away peacefully on Sept. 17, 2020 at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland.

Rick grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts and spent his first summer on Squirrel Island, followed by subsequent summers at Harborfields, the Thorpe family property in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. It was during these summers that he developed his love of boats. 

Setting sail on this course, Rick attended the Webb Institute, a college of naval architecture and marine engineering. He graduated in 1955 and embarked on what would become a lifelong career in the maritime industry. While pursuing higher education, he earned a nuclear engineering degree from the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Rick spent his robust career contributing to an array of shipyards and marine consulting groups. In addition to Bethlehem Steel’s Quincy Shipyard and Maine South Portland Engineering Co., a significant portion of his career as a shipbuilding executive was at Bath Iron Works, a renowned shipyard in Bath, Maine. There, his marine marketing efforts spanned U.S. Navy and commercial shipbuilding contracts for over 15 years.

Navigating onward, Rick then proceeded to serve as vice president of John J. McMullen Associates in Arlington, Virginia, where he stood at the helm of the company’s corporate planning and government affairs. He also served as the vice president for export activities and technical research for the Shipbuilder’s Council of America, followed by a principal consultancy with Kvaerner Masa Marine Inc. and a senior principal position at Herbert Engineering Corp.

Rick received the 2000 Selkirk Owen Award from Webb Institute in recognition of his lifetime achievements in the marine industry as well as his significant donations to his alma mater, including the Thorpe Athletic Field, named in honor of his father.

He was a valued member of the Webb Institute’s Industry Advisory Group, the American Society of Naval Engineers, and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, where he served on a fleet of committees.

Rick spent the latter four decades of his life anchored in Maryland, the final 22 of which on Mill Creek in the Providence neighborhood of Annapolis with his wife, Patricia Barry Thorpe. He owned many boats over his lifetime, notably the 46-foot sailboat Patrician2 and the antique lobster boat Kadetta III.

Rick cruised through his summers on the coast of Maine, savoring the waterfront, boating, and connecting with his multi-generational family property. In the winters, he was an avid cross-country and alpine skier. A hearty New Englander and staunch advocate for wildlife, he established the Thorpe Family Preserve, which includes a public hiking trail and boat ramp in West Boothbay Harbor.

Rick is survived by his wife Patricia; his son Nick; his daughter Wendy, her husband Tim, and their son Bennett; and his stepchildren and step-grandchildren. He is remembered by all for his love of family, his laughter, and his welcoming, generous spirit.

Throughout his vigorous career, Rick maintained his love for sailing and salt water, be it on the coast of Maine, the Chesapeake Bay, or countless voyages afar. Even more, Rick was devoted to Harborfields, the Thorpe property in West Boothbay. He leaves his survivors a treasure, a challenge, and a legacy.

Rick lives on in the words of poet John Masefield’s “Sea Fever.”

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

In lieu of flowers, please send your donations in Rick’s name to the Boothbay Region Land Trust at

An online guest book is available at