Richard A. “Rah” Harding, age 70, passed away on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts, with his loving wife by his side. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 16, 1951, he was the son of the late Clarence James and Marie Rita (Caron) Harding. He was raised in South Norwood, Massachusetts, attending Norwood High School, where he was a strong member of the Cross Country Track Team, earning four varsity letters and setting many records. Following his graduation in 1970, Rah continued to showcase his track skills, competing in many road races over the years. As a dedicated alumnus of Norwood High School, Rah gave back to his class, serving on the Class of 1970’s Reunion Committee for many years.
In 1974, Rah settled in Walpole, Massachusetts, where he raised his children, Jodi and Rick. His career brought him to Kendall Mills in Walpole and later to the Foxboro Company, where he learned to weld, working in the metal fabrication department. He went on to work at S.M. Lorusso in Walpole before taking a position with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Corrections, in the Norfolk Prison, teaching his craft of welding.
Rah met his soon to be wife, Eileen M. Shea, playing recreational volleyball in 1989. They ended up being next door neighbors in the 1990’s and they were married on September 7, 2002 in the United Church of Norwood. Together they made their home in Walpole until 2005, when they finished their home in Rochester, Massachusetts. Two years after settling into his new home, Rah transferred to the DOC’s Bridgewater Treatment Center, taking a position in the maintenance department. He retired in July of 2013, after twenty-seven years of dedicated service to the Commonwealth. He enjoyed giving back to his new community, spending five years volunteering/cooking breakfast at the Rochester Senior Center after he retired or helping out with the tractor show at the Rochester Country Fair.
Throughout his life, Rah was an avid outdoorsman and was a longtime member of the Walpole Sportsman Association. He looked forward to hunting trips to the Berkshires or Maine or casting his line into one of his favorite fishing holes in the area. He participated in many outdoor activities, including scuba diving, jogging/running, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and golfing. He also enjoyed attending NASCAR races in NH. Some of his favorite television programs were “American Pickers” and “Fox News”. He had many projects going at the same time, including landscaping, and restoring an old wagon and camper. Back at home, his love for the outdoors continued, as he began keeping bees in his backyard in Rochester. In more recent years, he learned how to make fishing rods, obtained a commercial fisherman’s license, and pulled in many large striped bass from the Cape Cod Canal. Rah was a member of the Buzzard’s Bay Angler’s Club, where he served on the board for many years and spent countless hours teaching and encouraging children in the community to fish.
Rah shared a special relationship with his wife, Eileen, creating beautiful memories from many vacations throughout the United States and the world. One of their first trips was to Alaska for their honeymoon and they later visited Texas, the Grand Canyon and many of the national parks in Arizona and Utah. After making a new friend out west, Rah and Eileen were convinced to travel “down under,” reconnecting with her and her family in Australia.
Beloved husband of Eileen M. (Shea) Harding.
Loving father of Jodi Ann Sevastos and her husband, Elias, of Mansfield, Richard A. Harding Jr. of Norwood, and Kerry DeSista and her husband, Gregory, of Mansfield.
Cherished grandfather of Antonios Sevastos, Maria Sevastos, Nikos Sevastos, Claudia Harding, Lindsay DeSista, and Matthew DeSista.
Brother of Nancy Lee Missett and her late husband, Jack, of Kennewick, Washington, Robert David Harding and his late wife Karen, of Taunton, Joan Ruth Puzin and her husband, Carl, of Walpole, June Marie Flynn and her husband, Jerry, of London, Ohio, Anne Shirley Ubertini and her husband, Ronald, of Austin, Texas, the late Clarence James Harding Jr. and the late Lois Ann Nelson. Also survived by many nieces, nephews, and his beloved dog, Bluey.
Relatives and friends were invited to attend Rah’s Life Celebration on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole. A Funeral Service was held in the United Church of Norwood, 595 Washington Street, Norwood on Thursday, September 2, 202. Interment followed in Highland Cemetery in Norwood. Memorial donations may be made to the National Pancreas Foundation 3 Bethesda Metro Center Bethesda, MD 20814 or at www.pancreasfoundation.org