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Happy Tail: Richard Damboise, a hard working man

'I have no doubt that Richie is in heaven caring for the babies until their parents arrive. I know too that he's not sitting still. He's doing something for someone and enjoying his Moxie and peanut butter cups. He's also talking to his two sons and waiting for Del to join him. Hopefully his days of milking cows and cleaning stalls are over but if I know him he would be glad to be doing that too. Rest in Peace Richie Damboise. Don't work too hard.' - PEG SCHAEFFER
Click on headline for complete Happy Tail with photo(s). Next Previous Happy Tail: Happy Tail: Max/Tucker aka Yellow Dog

By Peg Schaeffer

When I worked at Norwich Hospital in CT there was a man who worked in the housekeeping department. Richie Damboise was one of the hardest working people you would ever meet. He was always on the go. When Norwich Hospital closed Richie retired. But just because he retired from Norwich Hospital it doesn't mean he "retired."


I ran into him one day at the grocery store and mentioned to him that we were looking for someone to clean stalls. He mentioned that he had worked at Wildowsky's Dairy for years and that he could use the extra money. So Richie, the White Tornado, came to Sugarfoot Farm. We had 20 stalls to clean and he could do it in 2 hours. That was cleaning the stalls, sometimes with horses still in them, and putting in fresh bedding. He worked 5 days a week and never missed a day. Rain or shine, hot or cold, he was there every day on time.

Horse care quite another thing from taking care of cows<

Taking care of horses is not like taking care of cows and Richie learned the hard way. One day he was cleaning one of the stallion's stalls and he wanted Cody to move. He was standing behind Cody and hit him with the manure fork. Cody didn't move instead he kicked Richie right out the door. Richie was a short man and he would go in the stall and reach over the door from the inside to lock it. One day when our blacksmith came he heard a voice calling. He said he followed the sound and found Richie locked inside the stall. He had locked it and when he finished he was unable to reach over the door to unlock it.

Once he was bitten on the back by a horse<

Another time Richie was cleaning the stall and when he bent over one of the horses bit him on his back. He told Keith and me about it the next day. He started to show it to us. We could see it but we told him we couldn't. So he kept lowering his pants and lowering his pants until he realized what we were doing. We all had a good laugh over that one.

One day he was in the back barn talking to Jenn, a girl who also worked for us, and had his back to our stallion, Blue. Blue swung his head and sent Richie flying. His glasses flew off in one direction and his false teeth in the other.

Richie had a prosthetic leg and on occasion you would see him with his pants leg pulled up adjusting it. We had a trailer that we kept the bedding in and it had a metal ramp. Richie would push the wheelbarrow up the ramp, fill it with bedding, and then push it back down the ramp. Usually the wheelbarrow would get a mind of its own and slide down the ramp. One day as the wheelbarrow slid down the ramp and Richie tried to stop it his leg got caught in the hinge. So there at the top of the ramp was his leg, brace and all.

He would start work before "work" officially began<

Richie would start working for us at 10 am but that didn't mean that was when he started "working". He would get up at the crack of dawn and mow the lawn, work on the woodpile, or work in the garden. He organized the wood piles by season so that he could burn the wood in the order it was cut. He was also the first extreme couponer. He had a stock pile in the basement of canned food and would date it and put it in order of what needed to be used first. He was always a jokester, loved his moxie and peanut butter cups.

He was a devoted family man

He was a family man too. He and his wife, Del, worked with Catholic Charities caring for newborn children until they were adopted. They cared for over 50 babies as well as their own children. They had four children of their own 2 sons who passed away and a son and daughter as well as 7 grandchildren and a great granddaughter.

His granddaughter, Amanda, told me how much he loved his wife, Del. She said he was never afraid to show his affection for her, even while the dogs were biting his ankles for kissing her.

He was loved by all, especially fellow employees at the hospital

A longtime friend of mine, Deb Hansen Hudd, was Richie's neighbor. She knew him from Norwich Hospital and had this to say about him: "We loved him at work. He always had that smile, a quick laugh, could fix anything, and I just recall that laugh. When I realized he lived across the street from me I thought I was the luckiest person in the world to have him as a neighbor. And between him and Del, they were wonderful. Richie was such a dedicated Grampa too. Careful, taught right from wrong wasn't a pushover but was a very kind man.

He was good neighbor for 15 years

He was our neighbor for 15 years and was always interested in whatever we were doing here, building, gardening, cutting a tree, anything. Can't tell you how many times he nearly drove into our yard because he was staring at something we were doing. He was always willing to help if he could. He loved to work- never met anyone quite like him. He was up at the crack of dawn splitting wood nearly every day. He also did a lot of things with his grandchildren and his kids. He took his grandkids for walks around the block every day, and every day they stopped in to see the horses and chat for a few minutes. He always had a big smile, loved a joke, and I will remember him for being a man of faith, hard work, love for his family no matter what. It didn't matter what the trouble was, he was there to help too. He was always willing to help and he was the personification of the word 'neighbor'. He was the BEST. Del and Rich- perfect couple too."

He died before Thanksgiving, 2009

Richie died the day before Thanksgiving in 2009. He had gone out to work on the wood pile. He didn't come back in right away and they went to check on him. He collapsed trying to drag the log splitter over to the pile and was near death when they started CPR. He passed away Nov. 25, 2009 around noon. But you know what? He was doing what he loved - working.

I have no doubt that Richie is in heaven caring for the babies until their parents arrive. I know too that he's not sitting still. He's doing something for someone and enjoying his Moxie and peanut butter cups. He's also talking to his two sons and waiting for Del to join him. Hopefully his days of milking cows and cleaning stalls are over but if I know him he would be glad to be doing that too. Rest in Peace Richie Damboise. Don't work too hard.

- Peg Schaeffer, President and Founder, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue

Contact us if you would like to help.

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue,
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Sugarfootfarm.com
sugarfootfarmrescue@yahoo.com
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675


This story was posted on 2015-03-29 12:08:51
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Happy Tail: Richard Damboise, hard working man



2015-03-29 - Connecticut - Photo by Amanda Damboise, granddaughter of Richard Damboise.
When I worked at Norwich Hospital in CT there was a man who worked in the housekeeping department. Richie Damboise was one of the hardest working people you would ever meet. He was always on the go. When Norwich Hospital closed Richie retired. But just because he retired from Norwich Hospital it doesn't mean he "retired." - PEG SCHAEFFER

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