Former Peterboro Basket owner Richard Pierce remembered

Former Peterboro Basket Company owner, Richard Pierce, 89, died Saturday

Although Richard Pierce left Peterborough about 30 years ago, he was remembered fondly by area residents this week, following his death Saturday at the age of 89 in North Falmouth, Mass.

Pierce, a native of Framingham, Mass., bought the Peterboro Basket Company in the 1950s, according to Joan Dodds and her son, Wayne, who now manage Peterboro Baskets. Pierce sold the company to the Dodds family in 1983.

“He and my father lived near each other. I believe he’d been in the investment business in Boston before coming here,” Wayne Dodds said on Monday. “I liked Mr. Pierce very much. He was a real down-to-earth guy. The business was quite a bit different then. He didn’t have a factory store. He was selling to the catalog companies — S&H Green Stamps and people like that. He went with us to all the trade shows when we bought the company. It was really nice of him to introduce us to people.”

“Dick was a very kind, gentle man,” Joan Dodds added.

While living in Peterborough, Pierce was also a board member of the Peterborough Industrial Development Corporation, which developed the land on Vose Farm Road that eventually became the home of the Brookstone and NEBS companies and where the Millard Group and Eastern Mountain Sports are now located.

“He was very outgoing, the kind of person everyone liked,” said David Clinkenbeard of Peterborough, who was executive director for the PIDC and often worked with Pierce. “He had a big grin on his face most of the time. He was a pretty good businessman, too.”

Jim Grant of Peterborough recalled Piece as being instrumental in building the motel on Route 101 near Elm Street that later became known as the IDG building when it housed a number of computer publications.

“He was a mover and shaker in town in the 1960s,” Grant said. “He was part of a group that felt we needed a motel, with a conference center and restaurant. The timing was perfect and the motel was very successful for quite a few years. He really helped move Peterborough forward.”

Pierce, who served in the Seventh Armored Division of the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II, died at his home on Cape Cod, where he had retired after selling the basket company.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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