Richard H. Webber


Died August 31, 2008

College: Silliman

Widow: Mrs. Mary Gordon Patterson Webber
60 Quarry Dock Road
Branford, CT 06405-4654

Children: Frank, 1974; Robert, 1976
Grandchildren: Allexandra; Anya; Tariq

Dick was passionate about his family, his church, the law, client advocacy, the sea, naval history, white water, Scouting, railroads (especially model), Wagner and the need to share the knowledge. The order depended on the day and the judge.

He started at Yale in engineering and switched to history. After graduating in 1961 he went to OCS and from there to the USS Bache, a destroyer. Four years ago he discovered that during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the Soviet submarine the Bache was working over carried a nuclear warhead which had been armed. In 1964 he transferred to the Naval History Division in Washington where he reviewed strategic materials for posterity and developed a life long interest in Civil War naval history. His monograph, “Monitors of the U.S. Navy”, which was published in 1969, was the Navy’s first on the subject.

Columbia Law School followed. He graduated in 1968, specialized in admiralty law and became a partner at Hill, Rivkins and Hayden in New York. He found the practice of litigation an endlessly fascinating discipline and relished mentoring associates. Until his death he lectured annually at Maine Maritime Academy on accident reconstruction and maritime law.

In 1971, he married Mary Gordon Patterson, and, in 1974, they moved to Westport, Connecticut. Proximity to the Bowl made tailgating an every home game ritual.

In 2006, they moved to Branford, Connecticut. With Yale on his doorstep, Dick was given a final great gift. At the suggestion of a classmate he applied to audit several classes. John Gaddis’ course on the history of the cold war gave him an opportunity to examine and discuss his cold war experience in an academic setting. Finally and especially, participation in Gaddis Smith’s senior oceans seminar provided an integrative context to reflect on the whole of his professional and avocational life. And to share the knowledge.

Dick died August 31, 2008 of prostate cancer. He is survived by his mother, his wife, his sons Frank and Robert, his daughters-in-law Kara and Safia, his granddaughters Alexandra and Anya and his grandson Tariq.

—by Mary Gordon Patterson Webber


Richard H Webber passed away on August 31, in Branford, CT. He was born in 1939, the son of Harry G. and Anne Webber. After graduating from Yale University in 1961, he joined the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Bache. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1968 and practiced in New York and Connecticut specializing in admiralty and international trade law. He recently retired as a partner with the law firm of Hill Rivkins and Hayden. He served the First Presbyterian Church in New York City as an elder and trustee. He leaves his mother; wife, Mary Patterson Webber; son, Frank Patterson Webber and his wife Kara; son, Robert Lawther Webber and his wife Safia; and granddaughters Alexandra and Anya. Friends may call Friday, September 5 from 4 to 6pm at Hawley Lincoln Memorial, 493 Whitney Ave. in New Haven, Connecticut. A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 12 W 12th St., New York City Monday, September 8 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Richard Webber�s memory may he made to Maine Maritime Academy. Development Office. 101 Leavitt Hall. Castine. ME 04420W