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Richard M. Force

Died: January 30, 2018

Richard M. Force was born in Albany, NY on April 20, 1944, and died in Bethlehem, PA on January 30, 2018. He was 74. He is survived by his wife Beth Ann McFarland Force and his son Richard, Jr. and daughter in law Megan, and grandchildren Isabella and Jaxon. Dick received two degrees from Yale: a BA in history in 1966 and an MA in Educational Administration in 1968.

A resident of the Nutmeg State for his childhood and youth, Dick grew up in Groton and attended Robert E. Fitch Senior High School, where he was an honors student. Fitch serves the geographic region between the Mystic River to the east and the Thames River to the west; Ledyard sets the northern boundary. Dick was active in the Boy Scouts, earning the Order of the Arrow and becoming an Eagle Scout, an award bestowed to only 4% of all Scouts. The legacy of scouting continued at Yale, where Dick was a member of Alpha Phi Omega. APO was founded on the principles of scouting and is now the largest national coeducational service fraternity with more than 500,000 members o375 college campuses. Its motto is “Preparing Leaders Through Service.”

Themes of service and leadership in large organizations weave through Dick’s life. As William Wordsworth reminds us in My Heart Leaps Up: “The child is the father of the man.”

Moving from New Haven to Philadelphia, Dick enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania for postgraduate studies. He became Executive Director of Main Line Project Learning, a cooperative program with federal funding. He soon became President of the Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators, and in 1987 President of the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators. The chief focus of NAFEPA is to secure federal funding for Title 1 schools, where children from low-income families make up at least 40 percent of enrollment. A highlight of Dick’s career was testifying before Congress for children qualifying for federal aid.

In addition, Dick was active locally as President of the Wynnewood Valley Civic Association, and then as President of the Federation of Lower Merion Civic Associations. He was a Deacon at the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, and a board member of his local library where he advocated for links with the school district to serve underachieving students. He and Beth Ann carved out time for travel, when he enjoyed sketching as a hobby. An accomplished pianist, Dick enjoyed playing music before dinner, dubbing it his nightly “martini.”

After his retirement in 2010, Dick and Beth Ann moved to Bethlehem, PA to be closer to their family. In our 45th Class Reunion notes Dick crowed: “We have eliminated the lawn mower, rakes, and snow shovels with our move at a brand new 55 and up [retirement] community.”

Dick Force lived a good life and exemplified the Boy Scouts’ motto. Scouts’ founder Robert Baden-Powell wrote, “You are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.” Be prepared.

Stephen M. Clement III