Richard “Bub” Anderson has kept the photo of himself and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, whom he chauffeured to a private party in Somesville in the early 2000s. Anderson said the four-star general treated Anderson like a friend. PHOTO COURTESY OF RICHARD ANDERSON

Local man recalls his night as Colin Powell’s chauffeur 

ELLSWORTH — How often do ordinary citizens rub shoulders with those in the upper echelons of government? With Mount Desert Island a global vacation hotspot, locals know that it does happen. And when it does, it is rarely forgotten by us regular folk. 

Richard “Bub” Anderson owned and ran Crystal Limousine in Ellsworth for 21 years. He drove “old money,” like David and Laurance Rockefeller, and “new money,” and said “the new money is not so great.” 

But this did not relate to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, whom Anderson chauffeured from the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport to Somesville in the early 2000s. The occasion was a surprise birthday party for former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who lived on Mount Desert Island.  

The death of Powell this week prompted Anderson to remember that night from years ago. 

A regular driver for Weinberger, Anderson picked up the phone one morning. “It was a lady who said she was Colin Powell’s secretary,” Anderson said. “She said, ‘Are you the one who takes care of Caspar Weinberger and the Rockefellers?’ And she went on and on, and I said, ‘Yes.’” 

Soon the arrangements were made. Anderson was to pick up Colin and Alma Powell and Dick and Lynne Cheney at the Trenton airport and drive them to Weinberger’s home in Somesville. 

“It was a hot, hot day,” Anderson remembered. “Had to be in July or August.” 

He met the private plane on the tarmac. 

“The first words out of [Powell’s] mouth were, ‘How’s everyone treating you, Dick?’” Anderson recalled. “The first thing that came to my mind was what a gentleman this man was, an old-time gentleman.” 

Anderson drove the four to Somesville, turning right after the One Stop, to where Weinberger lived. 

“Traffic was stopped. There were 50, 75, 100 cars!” Anderson said. “I backed right into Mr. Weinberger’s home and Mr. Powell said to me, “‘Are you coming in?’” 

Anderson declined, but Powell pressed him: “Well, what are you going to do?” 

At Powell’s urging, Anderson arranged to pick up the party later and drove home. Then he called his friend, now retired Ellsworth Police Officer Tommy Jordan, who took the ride back to Somesville with Anderson. 

“And out comes Mr. Powell and another gentleman,” Anderson said. Powell asked the men to come in and eat cake. 

But Anderson and Jordan were reluctant. So instead, Powell came back with two pieces of birthday cake and two bottles of water. 

“We stood outside and ate them off the hood of the limo,” Anderson laughed. 

He added, “He came over and talked just like we were best of friends. Which we were at that moment. He’s the type of fellow that once you know him, he’s your friend.” 

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell signed his autobiography and his “player” card for Ellsworth resident Richard “Bub” Anderson, who chauffeured Powell and his wife, Alma, to a birthday bash in Somesville in the early 2000s.

Powell autographed a card and a biography that Anderson had, and arranged a photo snapped of the two of them.  

“Then I took him back to the private jet and away they went,” Anderson said, noting, “He was a tall man. He towered over me with his presence. But he didn’t want you to believe he was any different than he was.” 

Anne Berleant

Anne Berleant

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Anne Berleant covers news and features in Ellsworth, Mariaville, Otis, Amherst, Aurora, Great Pond and Osborn. When not reporting, find her hiking local trails, reading or watching professional tennis. Email her at [email protected]

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