Richard Southgate


Richard Southgate, known to everyone as Archie, died on Aug. 18 at the age of 89 after a long illness. A prominent Boston lawyer, Archie and his family summered at a cottage in Pretty Marsh for more than 50 years. Archie was an accomplished sailor and much of his vacation time was spent cruising the waters off Mount Desert Island.

His ability and his strength of character were proven when he was caught in the Perfect Storm of 1991 as he was sailing his boat Joyous Gard back from Maine to his hometown of Manchester, Mass. For more than 24 hours he battled huge waves and howling winds. When the storm finally abated, Archie found that he had been blown so far off course that he was off the coast of Nantucket.

Pretty Marsh was a very special place for Archie, and he would return there whenever possible. Besides sailing, he loved hiking, especially clambering up Beech Mountain eating wild blueberries along the way. The Deer Brook Trail up Sargent Mountain was another favorite and the climb was often followed by tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House. Other favorite Maine pastimes for Archie were playing tennis and digging for clams around his shoreline property.

Archie joined the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray in the late 1950s and served as managing partner of the firm from 1990 until his retirement in 1995.

“He was a superb corporate lawyer,” said Tom O’Donnell, who was Archie’s predecessor as managing. “His clients loved, admired and trusted him, and not just his clients, but everyone who dealt with him had a great regard for him. He was very humble and selfless for a man of such high achievement.”

Perhaps Archie’s most notable client was Dunkin’ Donuts, for which he structured franchising agreements in the early 1960s, at a time when such business arrangements were not common. Dunkin’ Donuts, with Archie’s guidance, became one of the most successful franchisers in the world. He served for many years on the Dunkin’ Donuts board.

Upon retirement, Archie began a second career as a professor, author/editor, and pro bono lawyer. He became an adjunct professor at Northeastern Law School, where he taught securities regulation and the law of nonprofit corporations. He was awarded an honorary degree by Northeastern in 2002. He volunteered his legal expertise for the Greater Boston Legal Services, where he worked extensively on disability and Social Security matters. In addition, Archie with co-author Don Glazer wrote the leading treatise on Massachusetts corporate law, entitled Massachusetts Corporate Law and Practice, which was published in 1991. A second edition was released in 2012.

Archie was Manchester, Mass., town moderator from 1976 to 1995 and a member of the town Board of Selectmen from 1998 to 2002, the last two years as chair.

Born on May 6, 1929, in Chicago, Ill., Archie grew up in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Harvard College in 1951 and Harvard Law School in 1954. He was a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956 stationed at Fort Dix in New Jersey and then Thule Air Base in Greenland.

He is survived by his wife, Joann Southgate, and children Richard (Rick) Southgate Jr. of Essex, Mass., Sally Barringer Gordon of Philadelphia, Rebecca Southgate of Paris and Jay Southgate of Vermont. He was predeceased by his wife, Nancy, in 2001.

Know when to pay your respects.