Richard Liesching, age 82, of Norwalk, CT passed away on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 at The Bridges facility in Norwalk, CT. His loving wife, Diane Cotter Liesching, was at his bedside.
Richard was born the son of the late Robert Raymond and Winifred Kirke Liesching of Grayshott, England. He was predeceased by his son, Robert Samuel (Sam) and is survived by two sons Timothy and his wife Karen and John and his wife Robbyn. Richard is also survived by daughter-in-law Angela Liesching; stepsons Joseph Cotter and his wife Lydia, and William Cotter; step-daughter Dianne Ledingham and her husband Bill; his loving sister Joanna Buchanan of Meonstoke, England; and his nephews Jamie and Angus Buchanan and their wives Tara and Cecilia. Also surviving Richard are ten grandchildren: Cameron, Henry, Trent, Madison and Kendall Liesching; Liddy and William Cotter; Lauren, Christie, and William Ledingham as well as his former wife, Ellen Smith Corbett.
Richard’s life had many dimensions which made him a global citizen. He was born in Shanghai, China on March 10, 1936. The start of WWII later became the catalyst for his family to return to England, where Richard attended and graduated from Blundell’s School, Tiverton, England. Richard received a scholarship funded by philanthropist Cornelius V. Starr, founder of AIG, and decided to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH where Richard’s adventure in America began. During his collegial years, Richard made contributions to the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club that would radically change the organization at Dartmouth and the game of Rugby in the United States for decades to come by imparting the “English way” of the game that made the sport more fun and more competitive. He was remembered as saying: “We will always have fun and therefore will win.” During his senior year, the Rugby Club established the annual ‘Dick Liesching Award’ - an award that continues to be bestowed annually to the deserving team member who contributed the most to the club on and off the pitch. Throughout his life, Richard was an active supporter of the Dartmouth Rugby Football Club and in 2013, the Club recognized his lifetime achievements with a dedication referring to him as a "Dartmouth College Rugby Legend."
After graduating in 1959, Richard was hired by Cornelius V. Starr to join AIG where he worked in various international offices including locations in Bermuda, Barbados and Lebanon. He then relocated to Nairobi, Kenya where he was a pioneer for AIG establishing the first AIG insurance office in Africa. While in Nairobi, Richard and his former wife had three sons. He returned to the US in 1968 with a larger family and started his private investment firm which later became known as Twiga Investments – a firm he operated until his retirement.
Richard met Diane Cotter in 1986 and they were married in 1990 in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church located in his boyhood home of Grayshott, England. They lived together in Norwalk, CT since 1991 with their beloved dog, Tillie. Richard and Diane have spent these past 28 years sharing their respective heritages while creating lots of new memories with their friends and extended family in New York, Connecticut, England, and New Hampshire.
When physically active, Richard was an avid golfer and enjoyed skiing as well as coaching local recreational soccer teams but above all, Richard was a lifelong devoted family man. Few obstacles could keep him from attending his sons’ sporting events and family activities. He was the loudest on the sideline and known for using his English accent to yell “first time, boy, first time!” – a phrase no one ever really understood but it never failed to instill confidence. Later, when his illness precluded the more physical activities, his greatest joy was to spend time with his family. He always eagerly anticipated visits with his children, step-children, grandchildren and of course, the many family dogs. Such visits were never without his unconditional inspiration and encouragement for the visitor.
Richard will always be remembered for the wonderful sparkle in his beautiful blue eyes, his personal warmth and kindness, and his ability to put others at ease. There was never a stronger advocate of all things Dartmouth, and in particular, when it came to Dartmouth Rugby. He loved his wife and extended family dearly. We will miss Richard greatly, but treasure the memories we have had with him, and wonderful impact he has had on our lives.
A memorial service is being planned for September 29th at Dartmouth College (details will be forthcoming). A private burial will be held in Center Harbor, NH for immediate family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to “Friends of Dartmouth Men’s Rugby” in honor of Dick Liesching at 6083 Alumni Gym, Hanover, NH 03755.