The Passing of an Association Icon

Richard “Dick” S. Guild, CAE, 85, president of The Guild Associates, Inc., (GA) the oldest association management company in New England, died on February 8, 2011. His life was celebrated at a funeral with family, friends, colleagues, and GA employees on Saturday, February 12, 2011 in Winchester, MA.

Dick joined his father Walter R. Guild, CAE, in the association business in 1949 after graduating from Boston University with a BS in business administration. “I managed to get into dad’s office two or three times a week, while I was going to college,” Dick recalled, “and picked up some invaluable experience along the way.”1

Immediately, Dick became active in the local associations, becoming a member in both the Association of Trade Association Executives (now ASAE & the Center) and the Boston Trade Association Executives (BTAE) in 1949. He was appointed to several of ATAE’s committees including membership and journal advertising. At the age of 29, he was the youngest person to be elected as president of BTAE. In 1959, at the age of 34, he became the youngest to serve on the board of directors of ASAE in the association’s 42-year history.

He earned a certificate of graduation from the Northeastern Institute of Trade Association Executives at Yale (now Institute for Organizational Management) in 1951 and joined the faculty of the Northeastern Institute in 1952. He wrote the monograph on programming in 1962 which was published by the Institute of Organizational Management in conjunction with the first-year curriculum that continued to be used until the 1970s.

Dick was passionate about association management and the roles of association management companies. The Boston Business Journal stated almost 20 years ago that “Guild is considered to be the dean of the association management industry in New England.”2 He was one of the founders of AMC Institute and served as president from 1969-70. He earned his CAE as part of the third class in 1963, following in the footsteps of his dad who earned the designation as part of the first-ever class. In addition, he encouraged his staff to learn and become engaged in associations and earn their CAEs.

Bill Maloney, chairman of the board of PRRI (another Boston-based AMC), said “Dick was not only a pioneer in our peculiar way of making a living but a good and gentle person. I personally learned a lot from him and considered him a colleague with whom I could share ideas and problems and always get a worthwhile response.” Dick was known to be a man of strong integrity and ethical compass and instilled that in all who worked with him. He was also quick to laugh and often said that when you stop having fun, it’s time to go.

While he had turned the day-to-day operations of The Guild Associates over to his daughter, Linda J. Guild, CAE, he remained as an advisor to the company until his health deteriorated in 2009.

Dick loved to figure out how things worked. He was an early adopter of technology and had computers in the office in the early 1980s. Outside of work, he was an avid skier and owned the Ragged Mountain Resort in New Hampshire for a number of years. He was a photographer who developed and enlarged his own prints and he enjoyed playing golf.

A WWII veteran, Dick leaves behind his wife Susan C. Guild, two daughters, Laura A. Guild and Linda J. Guild, brother Robert, a niece and nephews. Donations in Richard S. Guild's name may be made to American Diabetes Association, Boston Chapter, 330 Congress Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02210, or through

1 ‘“Dick” Guild is Youngest Trade Association Leader’ by Frederick McCarthy, Boston Post, Christmas Morning, 1955
2 ‘A New Vogue for Association Management’ by Robert Duffy, Boston Business Journal, February 18, 1991

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