Roland J. Harrington, 86

Jul 30, 2020 by

Published July 31, 2020

NAPLES, Fla. — Roland Joseph Harrington, 86, departed this life on July 23, 2020 in Naples, Florida after a lengthy battle with dementia and blood cancer. He was born in 1934 in Everett, Mass. to the late Nelson Harrington and Eleanor (Lee) Harrington.  

Roland grew up in Melrose, Mass. He attended Melrose High School, and as a young man was famous for his pink Ford convertible, and the fact that the local press once described his play on the football field as “untapped dynamite.” His fame, however, did not extend to the classroom, and after graduating from Melrose High School, he completed a post-graduate year at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. He spent two years at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. Upon the sudden death of his father, Roland began working in the family fish business.

In 1957, despite sometimes smelling of fish, he married Judith White of Lynn. He adored his wife, with whom he shared 63 years of marriage, even though she insisted Roland change out of his work clothes and put them in the trunk of his car every day before he came into the house. He and Judy raised their three children in Melrose, and – beginning in 1962 – spent every summer at their cottage at Little Neck in Ipswich.

Roland loved the fish business and the bustle of the fish pier in the early mornings. He delighted in the competitive bidding at the daily auctions, and was widely admired for his skilled unloading of the boats. In 1972, Roland established R&P Seafood with his long-time partner, Paul Scola. He was proud when his son followed in his footsteps as the fifth generation of Harrington’s to make their living in the fish business.

For many years, Roland’s favorite place in the world was simply “the beach.” His kindness and warmth extended to everyone he met, and he loved regaling new and old friends with stories about his time at the Fish Pier. Upon his retirement, he and Judy began splitting their time between winters at their home in St. Thomas, and summers in Little Neck with their extended family. After 25 happy winters in the Caribbean, he and Judy moved their winter home to the Naples Heritage Country Club in Naples, Florida. It was at this point that Roland decided his favorite place in the world was now “the pool,” much to the dismay of his beach-loving family. Roland and Judy moved full-time to Naples in 2016, where he spent every afternoon at the pool with a large group of women, known as “the girlfriends,” who fawned over him as though he still owned that pink convertible.

He is survived by his wife and his children, Pamela (Harrington) Cairns presently of Vinh Yen, Vietnam, Scott Harrington and his wife Billi Orms of St. Thomas, USVI, and Paula (Harrington) Siebert and her husband Rick of Ipswich. He was the much-loved, candy-sneaking, Nana-teasing “Grampy” to eight grandchildren; Jamie Cairns and his wife Anna, Allison (Cairns) England and her husband Eric, Jessie Cairns, Beth Harrington, Scotty Harrington, Caroline Siebert, Abigail Siebert and Jack Siebert. He was the proud great-grandfather of Oscar Cairns and his new baby brother, Charles.

In addition to his wife, children, grandchildren, and many friends, he leaves his dear sister, Marcia McCarthy and her husband Jake, of Stoneham, his brother Robert and wife Carol of Boca Raton, and his brother Kevin of Wakefield. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Lee of Gloucester, and his sister-in-law Joan Harrington of Wakefield. Roland also leaves behind many loving nieces and nephews.

The family is planning a memorial service and celebration of Roland’s life, the apocalypse not withstanding, on the first anniversary of his passing. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations in Roland’s name be made to the Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL or a charity of your choosing. For obituary information and to sign online condolence visit www.gatelyfh.com

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