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Richard F. Treadway, 92; was state GOP chairman

Before Richard F. Treadway became an elected public official, he had experience serving the public as the owner and manager of a popular and historic Sturbridge tavern.

''Hospitality is compounded of consideration, thoughtfulness, and good manners. The same rules apply whether you are entertaining the public or just having a few friends in for the evening or afternoon," Treadway wrote in the Globe in a 1940s article about being a good host.

Mr. Treadway, a former state senator from Sturbridge who also served as chairman of the Republican State Committee, died Sunday from heart failure at his home in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 92.

Mr. Treadway was born and raised in Williamstown. He graduated from Williston Academy in 1932 and earned his bachelor's degree in English from Dartmouth College in 1936. A year later he married his first wife, Martha (Chamberlin), who died in 1966.

For two years during World War II, Mr. Treadway served as a captain in the Marine Corps. He served at Camp Lejeune, where he managed food supplies for the mess halls.

Mr. Treadway's roots in public service began when he worked as the manager and owner of the Publick House, a restored coaching tavern founded in 1771 in Sturbridge.

In 1950 he became president of Treadway Inns, which operated 38 inns, including the Publick House, in locations throughout the world.

Mr. Treadway was a longtime supporter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, said his son, David of Weston. When Eisenhower was a candidate for president, Mr. Treadway erected a large Eisenhower sign in Sturbridge, which turned the heads of some prominent Republicans who urged him to run for the state Senate, his son said.

In 1952 Mr. Treadway was elected to the state Senate, where he served one term representing the Worcester-Hampden district.

''He believed in the idea that people from privileged or successful backgrounds should have a social conscience and should make society work for those less privileged. Back in those days, a whole lot of Republicans believed in that," his son said.

Mr. Treadway did not seek re-election because of his obligations to his family and his job with Treadway Inns, his son said.

Starting in the 1960s, Mr. Treadway began working as a campaign manager for John Volpe, who eventually was elected governor in Massachusetts. Two years later he was elected to serve on the Republican National Committee and was credited with helping heal divisions in the GOP.

''He was a charming Republican of the old school," said former chairman of the Republican State Committee and gubernatorial candidate John Sears. ''Dick was certainly helpful to me and others as we struggled to keep the Republican Party together."

In 1964 Mr. Treadway sold Treadway Inns and resigned from his position with the Republican National Committee. In 1965 he was appointed to the staff of Boit, Dalton & Church Inc., an insurance company in Boston. In 1967 he married his second wife, Suzanne (Herter) of Connecticut.

He worked at Boit, Dalton & Church until 1969, when he was elected chairman of the Republican State Committee and served for about two years.

Mr. Treadway also served as district director for the US Department of Commerce after he was appointed to the position by President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, his son said. He served in that position for four years before he retired and moved to Vero Beach, Fla., in 1982. That same year he married his third wife, Margaret (Simmons), who died in 2005.

Although his career in politics kept him busy, Mr. Treadway was able to teach his children valuable life lessons.

''He taught us as kids to believe in everyone's values . . . and how important it was to treat everyone with respect," his son said.

Mr. Treadway was also a member of the St. Botolph Club.

In addition to his son David, he leaves two other sons, Jonathan of Vero Beach, Fla., and James of Bellevue, Wash.; a daughter, Lauris London of Ardmore, Pa.; a sister, Jane Noel of Boston; three grandsons and three granddaughters.

A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Oak Harbor Club in Vero Beach, Fla. Another memorial service is being planned for this summer in Williamstown.

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