Richard C. Wainwright Sr., 92, formerly of Jenkintown, the longtime president of a family-owned industrial roller-making business, died Wednesday, Dec. 26, of pneumonia at Queenstown Hospital in Maryland. He had lived with his daughter in Chester, Md., for the last eight years.
“Dick,” as Mr. Wainwright was known, took the helm of the Philadelphia-based Godfrey Roller Company in 1962 at age 36. The firm manufactures printing-press rollers, including those that produced the Inquirer and Daily News when the two newspapers were printed at their plant at 400 N. Broad St.
Godfrey Roller had been established in a basement of an Old City building in 1865 and it quickly grew to meet the need for equipment as the printing industry blossomed, according to a history on hiddencityphila.org. The business then moved to North Camac Street and, later, to other locations.
According to his Inquirer obituary, William C. Squibb of Elkins Park was president of Godfrey from 1893 until his death in 1933 at age 75. Mr. Wainwright’s father, Charles, married Squibb’s daughter Eleanor Squibb. Charles Wainwright worked as a salesman for the company.
When Richard Wainwright Sr. assumed control of the company, he focused on making and selling rollers. Under his tenure in the early 1990s, the business moved from Center City to Oreland, Montgomery County. In 1994, he retired and handed leadership of the business to his son, Richard C. Wainwright Jr., although the elder man continued to serve as a consultant for several more years.
Mr. Wainwright was active throughout his career in the Philadelphia printing and graphic arts industry. He was a member of the Union League of Philadelphia and the Vesper Club. He cofounded the Print Craft Golf Club of Philadelphia and was a member the Graphic Arts Golf Club.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Wainwright graduated from Germantown Academy in 1944 and then joined the Navy. Stationed in Norfolk, Va., he worked as a hospital corpsman for wounded World War II veterans before being discharged in 1946.
He married Mary Ellen Miller, his high school sweetheart, in 1947, and the two raised a family, first in Glenside, and later in Jenkintown, where they lived for 45 years. Mr. Wainwright’s wife died of an aneurysm on Christmas Eve 1995 at age 69.
An avid boater, Mr. Wainwright and his family spent summers aboard a string of classic wooden power boats, including “My Way,” “Hi-Jinx,” and “Circe.” After moving to Chester on Kent Island, Md., in 2011, he purchased a fiberglass cruiser, “Stardust.” From the age of 87 onward, he enjoyed being captain of the watercraft as it cruised in the Chesapeake Bay, from Connecticut to the Bahamas, and along the Intracoastal Waterway.
He loved the Phillies, 76ers, Flyers, and Eagles.
“Only begrudgingly did he shift some loyalty to the Nationals, Orioles, and Ravens after moving to Kent Island,” said Dennis Weisberg, his daughter’s longtime companion.
Mr. Wainwright adored jazz and Big Band music. As a youngster, he finagled backstage passes, or waited at stage exits to get autographs from musicians, particularly the saxophonists. While in the Navy, he played the saxophone for the Navy Band.
In addition to his son, Mr. Wainwright is survived by daughters Cheryl A. Lashnits, and Nancy Ellen Wainwright with whom he lived in Chester, Md.; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A visitation starting at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, will be followed by an 11 a.m. funeral service in the Wayside Chapel of Whitemarsh Memorial Park, 1169 Limekiln Pike, Ambler. The service will be followed by interment at Whitemarsh Memorial Park.