Richard Marsh of Belchertown, victim of New Salem accident, well-known in dog breeding and show community

Last modified: Wednesday, December 24, 2014

BELCHERTOWN — The 67-year-old Belchertown man who died earlier this week in an accident on Route 202 in New Salem was remembered Tuesday as a well-liked and respected member of the dog breeding and show community throughout the region.

Richard Marsh was a past president of the West Highland White Terrier Club of New England and owned a kennel called Paddywagin Westies with his wife, Patricia.

Club member Florentine Locke of Norwood said she was with Marsh at his home at 15 Autumn Lane on Sunday. They were grooming Mr. Bradley, a white terrier they owned together, and which Marsh was preparing to show at the Westminster Kennel Club’s 139th annual Dog Show in New York City in February. They had hopes of making it to the final round at Madison Square Garden, she said.

Marsh also was planning to show Mr. Bradley at Crufts, which describes itself as the world’s largest dog show, in Birmingham, England, during March.

Locke, who was on her way to Belchertown to console Marsh’s wife Tuesday afternoon, said the couple did not have children.

“This is choking up the whole damn regime up here,” her husband, Tony Locke, said. “Richard was always the first one you would go to for help.”

Gloria Pasquini, current president of the West Highland White Terrier Club of New England, said, “This is very a sad day in the Westie world.”

Participating for the first time in the shows in New York and England was “going to be the highlight of his career as a handler,” said Pasquini, who lives in Alfred, Maine. “He was so looking forward to this and it was taken away from him. It’s just awful.”

Pasquini remembered Marsh as a mentor who would give her tips at dog shows that would sometimes lead to her finishing ahead of him. “He was a true sportsman,” she said.

The accident occurred just after 3 p.m. Monday, according to investigators. Marsh was driving south in a 2014 Dodge van when he was involved in a head-on collision with a northbound box truck, according to Massachusetts State Police.

New Salem Fire Chief Joseph Cuneo said Marsh was “unresponsive” when he arrived at the scene. New Salem EMS took Marsh to Athol Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to State Police.

The crash occurred near the junction of Routes 202 and 122. The northbound vehicle was a 2007 Sterling box truck driven by Raymond G. Phelps, 23, of Greenfield.

Traffic was rerouted for more than two hours as authorities investigated the crash.

State troopers assigned to the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, the Crime Scene Services Section and the Worcester County district attorney’s office investigated and the New Salem police and fire departments assisted at the scene.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Information provided by The Recorder and Associated Press was used in this report.

Eric Goldscheider can be reached at


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