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February 02. 2013 10:41PM

The Monahons were an integral part of the Peterborough community


Mourners stand near a photo of Rick and Duffy Monahon, who were killed in a car accident Jan. 27, during the gathering at the Peterborough Town House. (MEGHAN PIERCE/Union Leader Correspondent)

PETERBOROUGH - In remembrance of Rick and Duffy Monahon, more than 400 people crowded into the Town House on Saturday afternoon for "A Gathering of Friends," marked with both tears as well as laughter.

Richard "Rick" Monahon, 69, and his wife, Mary "Duffy" Monahon, 71, were killed in a car crash on Route 9 in Hillsborough on Jan. 27.

They were well-known as architects and proponents of historic building preservation in Southwestern New Hampshire.

Rick's firm, Richard M. Monahon, Jr. AIA Architects on Grove Street, has been in town for more than 40 years.

The couple is also well-known for their service in the town government.

Rick had been on the Planning Board for many years and was most recently chairman.

Duffy was actively involved in land conservation and was chairman of the Peterborough Heritage Committee.

Lead by Graham Ward, husband of Duffy's cousin Kathy Hoffman, friends and family members told stories of the couple, who were both such individuals and yet such a great duo at the same time, they said.

"I always thought of Rick and Duffy as one word," said former business partner Dan Scully. "One of my best memories of them is watching Duffy come into Rick's life. She literally ran into him."

Scully, a former Harrisville selectman, recalled how the couple had met at a former N.H. National Guard Armory in Peterborough at a hearing over the controversial proposed east/west highway through the Dublin/Harrisville area.

As architects tend to do, the Monahons had an effect on the region over the past several decades, Scully said.

"Rick perhaps most significantly impacted Harrisville in that 40-year rehabilitation. Duffy was the standardbearer for preservation of her beloved Peterborough. She was always out there as the leader. Many came to realize over time how right she was. ... Maybe they were not Fred and Ginger, but their relationship was such that Rick could play the straight man and Duffy was out there more strident. Each made each other possible, and our communities are culturally richer for it," Scully said.

Jim Putnam recalled the first time he met Monahon, who was fresh out of MIT, in 1971 when Putnam, Chic Colony and Bill Hart were working to restore Harrisville's old mill.

Reading a letter from Hart, Putnam said, "Whether designing or renewing a space, skiing in deep powder at Mike Wiegele's, crawling over beams in bat guano, skinny-dipping in an alpine lake or campaigning for a just cause, together Rick and Duffy were more than our architects, but more importantly, they were our dear friends."

The crash that killed the Monahons also took the lives of Donald Robb, 68, and his wife, Brenda Mary Robb, 62, of Concord. (See related story, this page.)

The Monahons were in a 2013 Subaru Forrester driven by the husband, and the Robbs were in a 2005 Toyota Camry driven by Mr. Robb.

Hillsborough police said one car veered over the dividing line and struck the other vehicle head on.

The Monahons were married on Dec. 4, 1982. The couple have a daughter, Sophie, who is in architectural graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, according to Meltzer. Duffy Monahon had three children from another marriage: Ian Spencer of Los Angeles, Duncan Spencer of Philadelphia and Dooney Leeson of Taos, N.M.



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