Richard D. Elwell, 76, loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, died peacefully Oct. 23, 2010, at home surrounded by his family.

A lifelong resident of Brooks, Richard was born there May 21, 1934, the son of Perley and Dorothy (Reynolds) Elwell.

Richard started working at the First National store in Brooks at age 16, working part-time while attending high school. Upon graduation from Morse Memorial High School in 1952, he continued to work full-time at First National stores until he took an assistant manager position at Cottle’s Red & White in Belfast.

Even as a little fellow, he always wanted to run a grocery and have his own store. In 1968, Richard and his wife, Ruth, purchased the First National store in Brooks, reopening it as Richard’s Market, which he owned and operated for 18 years until he sold it in 1986.

His store was a neighborly place where customers were greeted with his warm smile and friendly conversation. They came because it was Richard’s. He was well known for his ability to accurately cut a pound of sharp cheese off the wheel and enjoyed giving out treats to the kids or an ice cream on their birthday. Later, he worked at Belfast True Value Hardware and the Monroe Post Office.

Richard was an active and proud member of the community, providing support and sponsorship in many areas. He was a charter member of the Brooks Booster Club, serving for more than 30 years with one year as president. He was honored by the American Legion with a community service award. He served in the National Guard for eight years, was a Cub Scout leader, selectman and volunteer fire fighter.

Richard was an enthusiastic sports fan. He followed Brooks Little League and Waldo County All-Stars for many years, even before his grandchildren played. He often sported his #1 FAN hat. He received the Arthur Fuller award on behalf of the Waldo County Little League, given for his untiring effort and support throughout the years.

He most enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports at Mount View and Belfast high schools and logged many miles traveling year-round to games, always stopping along the way for a Diet Coke. He loved high school basketball, and come tournament time, you could often find him supporting teams at the Bangor Auditorium.

Rarely missing one of his grandchildren’s games, he could be seen in the stands with his scorebook in hand. He was called “Grampa” by his grandchildren’s teammates and friends. He enjoyed dancing, harness and stock car races, golf and mini-golf with family. He enjoyed doing puzzles in the winter, camping trips, canoeing and cookouts at camp in the summer, as well as trips to the coast with Ruth in their 1929 Model-A pickup truck. Grampa will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Richard is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ruth (Davis) Elwell; a son, Jay, and his wife, Eloise, of Brooks; a daughter, Lucinda, and her husband, Raymond Bryant, of Monroe; six grandchildren, Monica and her husband, Aric Odone of South Thomaston, Clint Elwell of Brooks, Calvin Elwell of Rockland, Kelsey and her husband, Bryan Menard, of Jackson, Ashley Bryant and Lindsey Bryant of Monroe; four great-grandchildren, Hannah Elwell, Logan and Brenna Odone and Elias Menard; two sisters, Sharley “Sis” and her husband, Brian Steward, of Swanville and Sandra Ellis of Gallatin, Tenn.; a brother-in-law, Roland Ryan, of Brooks; a sister-in-law, Joyce Davis, of Rockport; several special nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.

Richard was predeceased by his parents; a sister-in-law, Erlane “Dolly” Ryan; and a brother-in-law, Erving “Sonny” Davis.

A private graveside service will be held at Kinney Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Brooks Volunteer Ambulance Service, Attention: Paul Lawrence, P.O. Box 159, Brooks, ME 04921.

Arrangements are with Crabiel-Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast.

Condolences to the family may be expressed at ripostafh.com.