Becoming the 'monuments man'

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Richard Syphers follows in his dad's footsteps

By Mike Bisceglia

Seacoast Scene , August 13-19, 2015

[The following article is courtesy of the Seacoast Scene ]
Glen Simmons and Richard Syphers

Glen Simmons(l) and Richard Syphers put the finishing touches on the
Nay family stone at Founders Park.

HAMPTON - "I didn't exactly set out to be a monuments man," said Richard Syphers, owner of Syphers Monument Company. "It just turned out that way. You see, my dad, Roger, was the driving instructor for Winnacunnet High School for 35 years. He had his classroom, right here at Post Office Square. I was one of his students. When he decided to retire, he wanted to keep the classroom. In addition, he felt the need to give back to the community. I believe the idea of restoring cemeteries and monuments made just the perfect impact statement."

"He had to learn the intricacies of the profession, so he began to take classes at Rock of Ages in Barre, VT. And, he decided that I should accompany him. I was already a successful commercial fisherman, so I thought I would be just helping out with the driving. Not so. He and I graduated at the same time."

The Syphers' father and son team began to clean and restore complete cemeteries throughout the region.

"Our first project was the Elmwood Quaker Cemetery in Seabrook," said Syphers. "There are hundreds of stones, and each required reblocking, realignment and cleaning. It's taxing, because some of those stones can weigh many hundreds of pounds and have to be handled with care. Also, we had to keep in mind that the whole concept of delicate restoration is to preserve and maintain those stones. There is almost no margin of error."

Roger Syphers passed away on April 20 of this year, leaving his son the business and the same sense of engrained community dedication.

Bud Desrochers, recognized for his civic involvement, refers to Syphers as a "quiet force in the seacoast."

"I always admired the pride my dad felt in his community. That's why he was involved in so many civic projects. Like my dad, I can't seem to say 'no' to any organization's need.  I help out at the Historical Society, the American Legion, the Masons and more."

Recently, Syphers headed up a team that placed a 2,400 lb. stone in Founders Park to commemorate the Nay family.

"Most people don't consider the effort it takes to place a stone correctly. My dad was a stickler for perfection, and that trait certainly rubbed off on me."

"There's no doubt about the fact that I've been blessed," said Syphers. "I've got a great family and two thriving businesses. And, I find great joy in giving back. My dad would always tell me that the more he gave, the richer he felt. He was absolutely right!"

Richard Syphers
Richard Syphers with the 6-foot granite town seal that his father,
Roger, installed at the Hampton gazebo in 2000.

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