Richard H. Soule, a marketing executive and entrepreneur who helped found Darien’s youth football and hockey leagues, died Dec. 22 in Concord, N.H. The 25-year Darien resident was 85.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Soule and several other Darien men planned and launched the Darien Junior Football League, open to fifth, sixth and seventh grade boys. Prior to the creation of the DJFL, there were no opportunities for Darien boys to play organized football until they entered one of the town’s then two junior high schools.
Mr. Soule and a group including Fred Appleton, Ron Ball, Mac Budd, Tom Howell, Robert Kelly, Tom Moseley, and Peter Widmer founded the Darien Youth Hockey Association and served as its first board members. The league’s inaugural season in 1972-3 was played at the Crystal Ice Rink in Norwalk, where it was not uncommon to see rodents on the ice or birds in the rafters. The league eventually moved to the new Darien Ice Rink.
Richard Havelock Soule was born July 17, 1927, in Brookline, Mass. Following his military service, which he completed after his graduation from St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., he earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 1950 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1952. He worked for Proctor & Gamble, NBC, and Time/Life before starting a series of companies in industries including paper recycling, cosmetics, and pet transportation.
A lifelong sailor, Mr. Soule spent his summers in Duxbury, Mass. racing Beetle Cats, a 12-foot, gaff rigged, wooden sailboat. Finding the constant maintenance of a traditionally constructed boat too time-consuming, and Beetle Cat races difficult to find after moving to Darien in 1960, Mr. Soule began racing Sunfish at Wee Burn. He continued sailing into his 70s.
He is survived by four sons, Richard Jr. of Brooklyn, NY, Edgar of Wellesley, Mass., George of Darien, Timothy of Los Angeles; and 14 grandchildren. Mr. Soule’s first marriage to Emily Moser, who is known as Mimi, ended in divorce. He was predeceased by his second wife Florence Stout, and Virginia Cooper, his third wife.
A memorial service is planned in Boston in the spring.