Richard Ford deLima

October 19, 1930 ~ April 18, 2020 (age 89)


On April 18, 2020, Richard Ford deLima died at home in Cohasset, Masaschusetts at the age of 89.

Dick is survived by his wife, Sarah deLima; their children, Jane deLima Thomas, Jonathan deLima, Kate deLima, and Caroline deLima Rubb; and sisters Carol De Lima of Edmonds, Washington, and Nancy Monroe of Willow Street, Pennsylvania.

Dick was born on October 19, 1930 in New York, New York. He graduated from Mamaroneck High School in 1947 and from Amherst College in 1951.  Dick went on to Harvard University, where he earned a Master’s degree in Chemistry in 1952 and a J.D. in 1955.  He loved the three years he then spent on an aircraft carrier as an intelligence officer -- a lieutenant -- in the Navy. In 1958, Dick began his legal career at Cravath, Swain, and Moore in New York, and subsequently went in-house at Firestone International.

Dick married Sarah Boulton in London in 1969 after a whirlwind courtship in Rome.  Following a stint in Akron, Ohio, where Dick served as President of Firestone International, the couple and their first child, Jane, moved to the Boston area in 1972.  They settled in Cohasset, where they brought up their four children while Dick became General Counsel and Vice President at Polaroid Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  In 1988-1989, he successfully defeated an attempt at a hostile takeover of Polaroid. This defense established the important role an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) can play in deterring corporate raiders. Dick also led Polaroid’s legal team in the company’s 1991 litigation victory over Kodak, which, according to a The Atlantic in 2015, resulted in the “the most severe punishment in the patent field ever meted out by a court of law.”

Always passionate about good music, Dick studied jazz piano as a young man, sang bass in various choirs over the years (often with other family members), and relished attending concerts by ace performers.  In later years, he also took immense delight in the role of grandfather, or “Grumble,” to eight grandchildren.  He suffered a stroke on Easter Sunday, and some of the last words he really seemed to register were, “happy Easter, Grumble.”

No memorial service or funeral is planned. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Doctors Without Borders.


No services to be held

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