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Richard Johannes Boerner

Architect and builder, avid runner and sailor

Richard Boerner. (Courtesy photo)

Richard Johannes Boerner, a Harvard resident, loving husband, father, “Papa,” uncle, and friend, died peacefully on Sept. 2, 2022, at the age of 84. He was surrounded by three of the greatest loves of his life: his wife and two daughters.

Richard was born to Rhea and Johannes (John) Boerner. He was raised in Saddle River, New Jersey, and graduated from Ramsey High School and Cornell University with a degree in architecture. He was president of his fraternity, Sigma Pi; a member of Quill and Dagger, a senior honor society; and rowed varsity heavyweight crew. His crew won the coveted Intercollegiate National Championship Regatta in 1958, an honor he held dear.

After marrying Patricia (Patti) Fisher in 1963, he became a first lieutenant. in the U.S. Army, training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and served two years in Aschaffenburg, Germany. He was proud to be a member of the 101st Airborne Infantry Division and earned the Parachute and Expert Infantry badges.

Upon returning to the United States, Richard worked as an architect in New York City for several years. He started his own design-build business and was a sought-after architect-builder in northern New Jersey. One of his first major projects was designing and building the house where he and Patti raised their family for over 30 years in Saddle River.

Richard was an avid runner, participating in many races including, in 1976, the first NYC Marathon to run through all five boroughs. Over the years he enjoyed making Christmas ornaments and things for his children and grandchildren, taking walks in the woods with his dogs, biking, bird-watching, reading, and reciting poetry. Most of all he enjoyed spending time with his family at their Cape house.

Also an avid sailor, he enjoyed many chartered sails with friends and family. He realized his dream of one day owning his own boat with the purchase of a 19-foot O’Day Mariner, which he and his crew aptly named Simple Pleasure, and later with a 30-foot Catalina christened Spirit Wind in honor of his wife, the après sailor. It is on Spirit Wind that he instilled his love of the water to his beloved grandchildren.

Most importantly, he was a lover. He loved his wife, Patti, to whom he was married for 59 years; his daughters, Leslie, of Harvard, and Heather, of Acton; his sons-in-law David Neville and Bob Lammey; his grandchildren, Meghan, Taylor, Wyatt, and Lindsey; and his beloved dogs, “the boys,” Sailor and Teddy.

Richard will forever be remembered as a thinker and a loving, kind, generous person, and will be greatly missed. “All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.”

A celebration of Richard’s life will be held in October in Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden, 145 Bolton Road, Harvard, Massachusetts; Falmouth Dog Park, The Dog Park Fund, P.O. Box 93, East Falmouth, Massachusetts 02536; or Cornell University Rowing, Box 37334, Boone, Iowa 50037-0334. Please specify in honor of Richard J. Boerner when sending a donation.



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