Sir Richard is 100 years young

Sir Richard
Sir Richard Groton is turning 100. Photo provided

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – On Aug. 5, 2020, Sir Richard Gorton will be 100 years young, so Kay and I wanted to knowledge all he has done for the Springfield Senior Center but also the community. By the way, Kay and I “knighted” him many years ago.

Sir Richard met Ellie Johnson, aka Miss Ellie, at the senior center 25 years ago. They were both widowed and liked to play cribbage. Kay set them up as partners in cribbage doubles and the rest is history! Over those 25 years, they were both very involved at the senior center. They were Senior Citizens of the Year – Sir Richard in 2008 and Miss Ellie in 2003 – chosen by the members of the center, which is a great honor. They went on most day trips, many small overnights in Maine, Cape Cod, New York City Rockettes, and some long trips like Hawaii and Mackinac Island – Sir Richard can’t forget Mackinac Island! Sir Richard loved to meet new people and get them talking. He is famous for his spray-painted bright sneakers with smiling faces on them and his one earring that he used to get people to stop and talk. I think he was like Jimmy Stewart in the movie “Harvey” – except instead of a big white pooka, he used sneakers and an earring to start conversations.

We started the Senior Center Talent Show with Sir Richard and I co-hosting. We decided to showcase all the talent we had at the senior center – so many talented seniors that no one knew about. He worked long hours setting up the schedule of who would do what at the show – we would have about 20 to 30 participants. Everyone looked forward to the yearly Sir Richard’s Talent Show. The talent show ran many years and Linda Wilson co-hosted with him in the latter years. Actually, that is when Kay and I knighted him Sir Richard. The wild outfits he wore and the top hat kept us all laughing!

Sir Richard and Miss Ellie were always giving back to the community. He made wooden toys for the Santa Claus Club and she knitted for it. He made bird feeders and other wooden items for Habitat for Humanity, and they both used to bag soup beans for Habitat. He and Miss Ellie bought four ceiling fans for the big program room at the center and even paid to have them installed. They also donated one of the windows – when we had received grant money for new windows and needed just a few more than the grant could provide, they paid for a window in memory of their spouses.

We are writing this in hopes that people will read about this wonderful man turning 100 years during the COVID-19 pandemic and might send him a birthday card. We would like to give him a big card shower. Even if you don’t know him, if you could send him a card, we would be so thankful. You can mail the cards to Sir Richard Gorton, 79 Wall St., Springfield, VT 05156. Again, his birthday is Aug. 5 – and thank you!

Written by Terri Emerson (Springfield Senior Center director 1999-2016) with help from Kay Mitchell (1990-1999)

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