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302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

Richard Damon Bugbee

Richard Damon Bugbee, 85, died at home on Wednesday, September 2. He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Ann Lee Smith Bugbee, and his siblings Katherine Ives Bugbee and Stuart Jonathan Bugbee, Jr. He is survived by his two daughters Elizabeth Bugbee Abrahams of Devon, PA and her sons, Nathaniel and Benjamin, and Sally Bugbee Keidel and her husband Phil, of Villanova, PA and their children, Charlie and Maggie. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Ivy MacMahon and Victoria Guy Smith Schilling and numerous nieces and nephews. He was born in Charleston, WV to Edith Ives Damon and Stuart Jonathan Bugbee.

Dick graduated from Dartmouth College on a ROTC scholarship in 1957 and earned a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering in 1958. While at Dartmouth College, he enjoyed being a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Dartmouth crew team. From his college days, he forged close lifelong friendships and was a 60 year donor to the Dartmouth College Fund. He went on to serve three years in the U.S. Navy on the destroyer U.S.S. Manley (DD940) achieving Full Lieutenant rank.

In 1961, he married Ann Lee Smith in Cambridge MA. Over their 59 year marriage, Ann Lee and Dick established many friendships in Red Bank NJ, Wellesley, MA and Camp Hill, PA before settling in Wilmington, DE. Dick had a fulfilling 35 year career with the DuPont Company specializing in the Photo Products Division with expertise in product development, sales, personnel and human resources. Upon his retirement, he worked at Right Associates providing career transition support and then, ultimately, began his dream job at Brandywine Ace Pet and Farm in West Chester, PA. He had always wanted to work at a hardware store – to be a resource and help people with their projects. At Ace, he found a second family with the loving and supportive team. He thrived on helping customers for over 10 years find the “just right” solution for their problem or question. His work at the hardware store sustained him after the death of his wife, Ann Lee, this past November.

Dick was committed to giving back and supporting others. He enjoyed working on homebuilding with Habitat for Humanity and driving for the Red Cross of Delaware. He was an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church for over 40 years and drew on his deep faith throughout his life. He found fellowship with others in the four-year Education for Ministry theological education program, and served as a Lay Eucharistic Minister and usher. Dick loved spending time with his family and Damon family relatives in their 1890 cottage on Heron Island, ME as well as boating and playing in the island’s annual tennis tournament. Islanders affectionately called him Buck Digbee and appreciated his good cheer and wonderful spirited conversations. He was one of the Heron quartet who gave fantastic impromptu acapella concerts from the post office porch during the island clambakes. He also enjoyed annual summer visits to his wife’s parents’ 1770 farmhouse in Bridgewater, NH and spending time with them and his extended family there, helping with woodcutting and repairs to the old house. His canine companions over the years, Penny, Scruffles and Winnie, were always by his side keeping him company.

Dick, also known by his preferred nickname of “Ned”, enjoyed hobbies including working in the yard, woodworking, tinkering around the home, and re-caning chairs. He loved spending time with his daughters and grandchildren, providing advice and counsel, watching them play sports, discussing a myriad of topics from current events to history and politics and passing on his handyman skills. His favorite way to relax was reading bestsellers and the entire Sunday New York Times, along with a big bowl of popcorn. Known to be loquacious, he would engage in conversation and epic storytelling with anyone who would listen. Ned had a special knack for joke telling and being able to span the generations with his puns, riddles and stories.

Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, the family will hold a private service at Trinity Episcopal Church on September 12, 2020 which will be live streamed. To join the live stream at 11:00 am, please visit In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County, 1920 Hutton Street, Wilmington, DE 19802 or Trinity Episcopal Church 1108 N. Adams Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. Please note on the memo line “In memory of Richard Damon (Dick) Bugbee.”

Funeral Services

Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, the family will hold a private service at Trinity Episcopal Church on September 12, 2020 which will be live streamed. To join the live stream at 11:00 am, please visit


    Rachel S Bretz lit a candle and writes,
    Elizabeth and Sally, I am so sorry for your loss. Keeping you in my thoughts.
    09/04/2020 04:14 pm
    Jerry Slater writes,
    I was also an officer on the U.S.S. Manley in the 1957-60 period, and remember Dick very well. He was a fine officer and a gentleman. I often wondered about his life after our Navy days, and am happy to see how productive and well-loved he was--as I would have expected.
    09/04/2020 04:47 pm
    Arthur Lee Gaston and Elaine Bury Gaston, Chester, SC writes,
    I served as the Supply Officer on the USS MANLEY (DD-940) in Charleston, SC, when Dick was Navigation Officer. We went to the Med with the Sixth Fleet twice while I was on board. I was married to my wife Elaine at the time. Elizabeth and Sally, your mother Ann Lee visited and stayed with us at 7-1/2 Stolls Alley one weekend, so with good Southern hospitality we made certain she felt welcomed to the "Port City" (Charleston) where the Ashley and Cooper Rivers join to form the Atlantic Ocean. Always felt that Ann Lee's weekend with us contributed to the union of the two of them. . . and so to the existence of the two of you. . . .
    09/04/2020 05:20 pm
    Glen Smiley writes,
    I remember Dick well from my time on the USS MANLEY DD 940 during my tour as Supply Officer from 1960 to 1961. Dick was the "Gun Boss", or the Gunnery Officer and also the Navigator. We had some good times on liberty during our 1961 Med Cruise. Dick always seemed to have a friendly and positive attitude. I did not keep in touch with him after I left the Manley, but reconnected with him, Charlie Weyouth and Ken Bachelor at our ship's reunion in 2018 and relived some of our past experiences. I tried to console Dick on the loss of his wife, having just lost my wife in 2016. Dick was a good friend.
    09/04/2020 06:00 pm
    Lynn Weymouth writes,
    Sending sincere hugs of sympathy and support to Elizabeth and Sally at this sad news. Your parents were great friends over many years and will be fondly remembered. Xo, Lynn
    09/05/2020 07:26 am
    Valerie Kappler writes,
    Elizabeth, Natty, and Ben we are so very sorry to hear this news. What a wonderful lifetime of memories you all have of his love for you all and his efforts to leave the world a better place. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Love, The Kapplers.
    09/05/2020 07:50 am
    Valerie Kappler writes,
    Elizabeth, Natty, and Ben we are all so very sad to hear this news. What a lifetime of wonderful memories you have had with such a special person who obviously was full of love for you all. He was a great father, grandfather, and overall good person who did his part in leaving the world a better place by helping others. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Love, The Kapplers
    09/05/2020 07:57 am
    Mate Schaftlein writes,
    I had the pleasure of working at BAPF Ace with Dick. Everyone knew him and he knew them. He especially loved Saturday being the popcorn man. He loved putting those bags of popcorn in the hands of children, parents included and stuffing the bags to have them ready for his customers. I, we will miss his stories, jokes, navy stories and words of wisdom. Great co worker.. thinking of you all.
    09/05/2020 08:50 am
    Eileen Mallouk writes,
    Dear Elizabeth and Sally I did not realize your mother had died. She was so kink with her time to all of us. We did have fun in our young married lives. I was up at the ACE just this summer and I asked if if your father was there. The clerk said “No, but he is well loved “ what a beautiful statement to make from a coworker! Everyone loved your parents , they brought so much spirit to everyone. Living up in Chadds Ford and knowing much of the history I’m sure your father enjoyed the ride on Route 100 (Creek Road) Story has it that Washington rode out around route 100 to see if General Howe was coming and a Scotsman from Howe division saw a man on a big white horse , with another soldier and said “I’ll no shout a man in the back” How different history could have been ! Anyway I’ll think of him as I take that ride. Best of wishes for your future with so many great memories to have. Love Eileen Mallouk
    09/05/2020 09:16 am
    Jay Leaning writes,
    I had the pleasure of meeting Ned while attending Education for Ministry years ago. He was delightful, I always enjoyed listening to his stories and marveled at his quick wit, endless anecdotes and the pleasure he took in telling them. Such a gentleman, he gave our daughter a stuffed giraffe as a gift and when I remarked, “she will have to name it,” he replied, “why ‘Ned’ of course!” My sincerest condolences to you his dear family.
    09/05/2020 09:55 am
    Elizabeth Levy Gula writes,
    What a wonderful life. I’ll always remember him cheering us on at Tower Hill volleyball games, the wonderful bow tie collection, and his great stories. He was always the life of the party!
    09/05/2020 10:26 am
    Katie Moran lit a candle and writes,
    Elizabeth and Sally ~ I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of your father. Your mom and dad were two of my very favorite friends of the Morans. They were always so genuinely welcoming to me and always wanted to know how I was when I saw them and always asked how Morgen and Chase were. I passed ACE Hardware going to my parents a few weeks back and I thought to myself, oh Elizabeth told me her dad worked here, I need to stop in a say hello next time I drive up to Berwyn! I so wish I had stopped in then. He was a great man, I know you girls know that by what you wrote about your darling father. Keep his memories alive by talking of him often and telling his jokes. You are all in my prayers. ~ Katie
    09/05/2020 11:46 am
    Jeanne Checkel writes,
    Elizabeth and Sally, When your parents lived on Blue Rock Road in Edgewood Hills, we lived on Edgewood Drive. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know both of them. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. Jeanne Checkel
    09/05/2020 11:49 am
    Debra L Edwards writes,
    It was always a pleasure talking to him when I went into Ace and he was working. I remember his popcorn days also. A great man!
    09/05/2020 06:34 pm
    Kim U writes,
    I knew this sweet man from Ace. I’m there 2-3x a week so I know everyone a bit. He was always smiling and ready to help. I’m sorry to hear of his passing and Im sure he will be missed by his customers and coworkers.
    09/05/2020 08:53 pm
    Steven A. Shustack writes,
    I first met Dick when I applied to Dartmouth. He conducted my alumni interview, which I have always felt instrumental in my acceptance into the College. I have often thought of Dick throughout the years when I lived outside Delaware. I will keep you and him in my prayers.
    09/05/2020 09:02 pm
    Mac Sommerlatte writes,
    Dick was a wonderful and decent man. The world was a better place for having him in it. His was a life well spent. Condolences to his family.
    09/06/2020 09:18 am
    Mike Houser writes,
    Dick was a fine man and a great work colleague. We had several years association with DuPont/Photo Products-Berg Electronics, but the highlight was years later when Dick became a “fixture” at Brandywine Ace Hardware in Pocopson. His banter and expertise were appreciated by both customers and staff. Good thoughts about Dick’s life to the Bugbee Family. Mike Houser/Fenwick Island, DE
    09/06/2020 09:31 am
    Lora Englehart lit a candle and writes,
    I always loved it when Ned waited on me at Ace. I knew there was a good story behind him and was glad to finally learn What it was. I will miss seeing him.
    09/06/2020 10:12 am
    Peter J. Schreier lit a candle and writes,
    Margie and I always enjoyed speaking with Dick at the meetings of the Dartmouth Alumni Assn. of DE. We will miss his always smiling face. Condolences to his family. Pete Schreier D'59
    09/06/2020 02:07 pm
    Franz J. portmann lit a candle and writes,
    To me it was always Mr. & Mrs. Bugbee, when they were members at the Greenville Country Club. and I was the GM 1983-2000 Fond memories of both of them as fine, courteous members of the Club for many years. My sincere condolence.
    09/06/2020 10:18 pm
    carroll ivy writes,
    Our prayers and love to the family. We have such fond memories of your father at every swim meet at GCC. Sending love from all of us -- Carroll, Alice, Jackie and Alice Sr! xoxxo
    09/07/2020 08:33 am
    Kristi lit a candle and writes,
    I worked with Dick at BAPF for over 3 years and knew him for over 6 years. His ability to tell a joke would lift my spirits and always make me laugh (and he knew my favorites!) His stories varied from things he had read to events which he experienced. He gave me advice and was like a father to me (as mine had passed many years ago.) Ever the perfectionist, he went the extra mile to do anything and everything including breaking down boxes for recycling (his pet peeve that others wouldn't.) I believe his favorite day at the store was Saturday when he was the "Popcorn Man", a moniker which he added to his name tag. He taught me about life, work ethic, and relationships. He loved his family and spoke of them often. His faith was unwavering. His legacy will be felt in all of the lives he touched over his time we all knew him. My deepest condolences to all of his friends and family. May he rest in peace in God's arms with Ann at his side.
    09/07/2020 01:13 pm
    Larry Drennen lit a candle and writes,
    Dick was a very special team member at our ACE store. His wit, his conversations and his popcorn will be missed. All our customers knew Dick as we was especially helpful in solving their hardware problem - and he had plenty else to talk with our regulars about and a a bonus joke for free. Dick was a trusted key holder and often opened/or closed the store. Occasionally the alarm code was forgotten and I would get a call from the alarm company. I called Dicks cell phone and he would answer "Larry, it's me - did the alarm go off?" We worried about his drive back to Wilmington those dark winter evenings and offered to change his schedule. "I'm fine. No don't change a thing." We pass along our deepest sympathy and prayers to your family and we want you all to know that the whole ACE family celebrates Dicks life along with you. We are blessed to have had the honor and pleasure to work along with him these past 8 years. Miss him dearly.
    09/08/2020 12:36 pm
    Jimmy mclaughlin writes,
    Very nice man , I enjoyed seeing and talking to him at ace , sad news , god bless and Rest In Peace ❤️
    09/08/2020 09:19 pm
    Kim Beamon lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Sally, Holding you and your family in peaceful light.
    09/10/2020 09:28 am
    wendy and frank bunch writes,
    Dear Elizabeth and Sally we have been in Maryland and cancelled our newspaper subscription so just seeing the sad news today on line about your father. It seems like just yesterday that we were at Trinity honoring your mother. Your parents were such fun at Greenville CC over the years providing cheer and good will. We also got to see your dad at the hardware store on several occasions receiving popcorn and hugs as our granddaughters played basketball at the school nearby. Dick always made you smile and we send our deepest sympathy to you both.
    09/13/2020 03:02 pm
    Lu Johnston lit a candle and writes,
    Dear Sally and family - I am so sorry to hear of your father's death. He was a special man, indeed. He provided wise council and great support to me when I led the youth group at Trinity many years ago! Andy joins me in sending condolences. Fondly, Lu ~
    09/14/2020 12:07 pm
    Roland & Denise Kern (and family) lit a candle and writes,
    We are all so heartbroken. Everyone loves Dick! Every visit to Brandywine Ace Hardware he would greet you with absolute joy - as if you were family - saying hello with a huge smile. With genuine kindness in his heart he would happily help you with anything you need. He always had great advice, optimism and imparted very kind words as he sent you along your way. What a joy, extremely kind man & wonderful person! We will all truly miss him dearly.
    09/17/2020 02:59 pm
    Jean Raleigh writes,
    Dear family, Because of Covid-19 we have been living at our farm in the Blue Ridge in NC and I did not know about Dick's passing until recently. As a guide of many years with dear Ann Lee, I also was treated to knowing Dick. The two of them loved all of you deeply and they shared their many stories of summers and holidays with family and friends! They will be missed by me!
    09/20/2020 08:14 am
    Sandy & Kevin Schindler writes,
    We were saddened when we received the call of Dick's passing. We worked with Dick during the time we owned Brandywine ACE Hardware (prior to the Drennen's). He had the gift of being able to solve virtually any problem a customer had and walked them through exactly what they needed and how to do it. He was always friendly and jovial with everyone. We would always talk about Maine before and after his summer sabbatical there, comparing places we had been. Dick having been with DuPont, and I with MBNA often led to discussions of the two Delaware business titans. It was a pleasure and an honor to have had the time we did with Dick. Our deepest condolences and sympathies to his extended family and friends.
    09/28/2020 08:01 pm

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