Dr. Richard P. Vincent – Rugby Enthusiast

The 55-year-old dentist died Sunday, August 5, after suffering for many years from Crohn’s disease. Yet he was instrumental in conceiving and actualizing the playing field tucked into a corner of Columbia Park. Metropolis rugby club board member Tom Lavin said, “Within the continental United States, that setup exists in no more than three or four places . . . It’s as professional a surface as you can play on from Auckland to London to Victoria. It’s pristine, accurate and functional.”

Before Vincent and his cohorts brought their rugby passion to the site, the area was a dried-out pond littered with boulders, tires and chunks of asphalt. It was dedicated for rugby play in 1998.

Dr. Vincent was raised in Silver Bay, Minnesota, played rugby while pursuing an undergraduate degree at Gustavus Adolphus College, then studied dentistry at the University of Minnesota. His wife, JoAnne, said of him, “He was an old-fashioned dentist. . . . He practically traded chickens—and actually traded for artwork, dog food, handmade lawn furniture, painting and lawn work—for services if the patient needed it.

He was inducted into the Metropolis Hall of Fame in 2001, praised as “a tremendous competitor who made up what he lacked in size with speed, athletic ability and fierce play.”

A move is underway to name the Columbia Park rugby pitch in Dr. Vincent’s honor.