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Reflection on Life, Love, and a Legacy

Posted 7/10/2016 7:58am by The Webb Family.


It has been a week of reflection for the Webb family. We lost a beloved patriarch - a man that developed the farm and woods as we know it. Words can not fully express our sense of loss. However it has been a week of homecoming for family - filled with time with 'Gram', family dinners, walks in the woods, gardening, farm projects, and appreciating those around us. Richard H Webb, otherwise known as 'Dick' or affectionately as 'Pop' will live on forever in this place we know as the farm and forest he nurtured. 

"Whose woods these are I think I know" ~ Robert Frost

Richard H Webb
(July 31, 1921 - July 6, 2016)

The Webb family lost their beloved patriarch on July 6, 2016. Richard Humphrey Webb was born July 31, 1921 in New York City, the youngest son of Vanderbilt and Aileen Webb. He attended Groton School and Yale University before serving in WWII where he was awarded the Purple Heart and two Oak Leaf Clusters. In 1948 he made Harding Hill Farm in Sunapee, NH his home. In 1951 he married Elizabeth Alden Thomas and together they raised their six children. He was involved in the local community in many ways, served on the Sunapee School Board for 21 years, was a Boy Scout Scoutmaster, an active member of the Lions Club, served on the Board of Directors for a local bank, and was a Sunapee Selectman. He supported and embodied the philosophy of the small family farm and kept numerous animals and maintained large gardens throughout his life. Together, he and his business partner George Neilson, developed and maintained Harding Hill Farm, taking part in sugaring, logging, haying, and woodworking. Hiking, birding, and traveling were among his many lifelong interests. He and his wife Betsy enjoyed traveling together and enjoyed many trips throughout the world. He was a founding member of the Sunapee Harbor Riverway, which is dedicated to conserving the history and charm of the harbor area. He devoted much of his life to land conservation, and granted the first conservation easement in the state of NH. He purchased many woodlots and established areas for public use, such as the R.H. Webb Forest Preserves in Sunapee and New London, allowing recreational use year round. He served as Trustee, Secretary and Chairman of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests from 1969-1988. He was New England Tree Farmer of the Year in 1974 and New Hampshire Tree Farmer of the Year in 2000. His dedication to conservation will be a lasting legacy.


He is survived by his wife of 64 years and his children (Tom & Jackie Webb, Portland, Oregon; Paul & Lisa Webb, Jacksonville, Florida; Brad and Andrea Webb, East Windsor, New Jersey; Van & Robin Webb, Sunapee, NH; Faith and Tom Reney, Sunapee, NH; Bayard & Lyle Webb, Reno, NV and 11 grandchildren (Tyler, Sam, Aileen, Sara, Max, Seth, Blake, Sawyer, Emily, Rosie, Natalia).

An outdoor dedication for “A custodian of these woods” will be held at 10:00 AM on Sunday, August 14 in the Webb Forest, follow signs from Harding Hill Road, Sunapee to the designated parking area. A short hike is required.

Note Change in Time and Location: A memorial service will be held at Harding Hill Farm at 524 Stagecoach Rd in Sunapee at 2:30 PM, also on Sunday, August 14. All of Richard’s friends are invited to either or both of the services.

In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested that donations be made to Ausbon Sargent Land Preservation Trust, PO Box 2040, New London, NH 03257