Richard Allen Gay


Richard Allen Gay passed away peacefully in the care of his adoring wife and loving family. He was born on Sept. 20, 1932, to Charles T. Gay of Milbridge and Pauline Collins Gay of Bar Harbor.

Born in Bar Harbor, Richard Gay (Dick) was an inquisitive and adventurous child, telling vividly remembered stories of his explorations in the village. Raised by parents who taught in schools including Lubec, Bar Harbor, Jonesboro, Fort Fairfield, Deer Isle and Beals Island, Richard grew up exploring and absorbing the essence of rural Maine and its varied cultural influences, believing French to be his first language. Richard would later attend Lafayette College (Pennsylvania) studying pre-med and Russian history and literature and later would attend University Laval (Quebec) and the University of Maryland. Entering the Air Force pilot training program in 1954 would bring him to Washington state, where in 1955 he would marry Wyona J. Rosane. They would return to Maine, where Richard would earn degrees in modern languages and history. Richard was recruited his senior year at the University of Maine by the National Security Agency (NSA). Becoming a crypto-analyst of foreign languages, he would gain the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which recruited him from NSA during the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Richard would move his family to Southeast Asia in 1960 and work for the CIA as a covert operative in Laos. Later, he did several CIA counterintelligence missions in support of secret United States Australian air operations (Ubol) and secret U-2 flights out of Tallinn, Thailand. He said his work for the CIA was a job he loved. After this he would return to Maine and settle in Milbridge, where he established a successful family real estate business. Richard was active as a Mason and Shriner, served on the school board, was a Rotary member and continued to travel with his family while residing in Milbridge. In 1983, he married Mardi Hayes Byers of Blue Hill and moved to Blue Hill, where he restored a sea captain’s house into The Tenney Hill Inn. He was an instructor of foreign languages for several schools and colleges, including Husson College, College of the Atlantic and Maine Maritime Academy. Richard was an active member of the Civil Air Patrol (Bar Harbor squadron) and the Phoenix Society of ex-CIA officers. He authored numerous editorials and feature articles, and was published in Spies Lives. He co-authored “They Came to Destroy America (Nazi Spies of World War II)” and penned fiction influenced by his career. A gifted man, Richard enjoyed the performing arts, including playing the piano and ukulele, acting in plays, singing, and drumming. Richard performed in the Bagaduce Chorale of Blue Hill and The Grand of Ellsworth. He loved to research, particularly his genealogy, and stayed current on international politics, often invited to speak at conventions, Rotary groups, schools, etc. In 2017, Richard would marry his companion of five years and move to Florida, summering in Maine. He continued to live an active life until weeks before he passed.

“Frog” as he was known to his grandchildren, was loved and admired by his family. Richard is survived by his loving wife, his “angel” Tatiana Alejandra Borja Tawil; his sister, Mary Ann Johnson; three daughters, Jacqueline Leighton of Milbridge (Barry Leighton), Patricia Olson of Pasco, Washington (Barry Olson), Cynthia Quaas of Council Bluffs, Iowa (Stewart Quaas); one son, Richard (Michael) Gay of Milbridge; grandchildren: Joshua and Holly Leighton, Nadine and Chad Preston, Matt Quaas, Lindsey Quaas, Caroline Olson, Kyle Olson and his partner, Holly Haney, Michael Truman Newenham (MT) and his partner, Jackie Sinclair; and Tricia Newenham; his great-grandchildren, Jesse Leighton, Noah Leighton, Lincoln Newenham, Lainey Preston, Blake Rowland, Caleb Rowland, Jonah Olson, Alexandra Boutsen; Nephew Steve Bell (Southwest Harbor); niece Michele Perlman (Bentonville). He will be remembered especially by two special friends, Richard Vanasse and Peter Duston, and his Vespers Group.

A celebration of Richard’s life will be announced later this summer with speakers and reception to follow. The family will have a private burial.