Richard was born in Gary, Ind., the third of four children. He lived in Gary until he joined the Air Force in 1949. During the Korean War, he was a staff sergeant in the 28th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron, 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Rapid City AFB (Ellsworth AFB). After leaving the Air Force in 1952, he moved to Los Angeles to join his family that tried to sneak out of town while he was in the service. Soon thereafter, Richard joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked until retirement in 1979.
He also met his future wife, Diane, in 1952, while going on camping trips with his sister and friends. They soon ditched his sister and were married on the 20th of June 1953, in Lake Tahoe, Nev. They had three children, Julie (1954), Amy (1955) and Steven (1958). Unfortunately, his daughters, Julie in 1983 and Amy in 2008, preceded him in death due to cancer. His wife of 64 years, Diane passed away in 2017.
Following retirement in 1979, Richard and Diane moved to the Tehachapi area. They decided to leave their home of 26 years in Los Angeles and move to a rural area. Diane said that her father used to hunt in a place called Bear Valley Springs and was impressed with the area, so they decided to check it out. They built their home 41 years ago in Oak Knolls where they resided until their passing.
Richard was also very active in both the Elk and Moose lodges and served as the Exulted Ruler of the Tehachapi Elks in 1993 and 1994. Richard and Diane enjoyed their ranch and named every animal they had, which included goats, sheep, cows, pigs, ducks, chickens, a pony, etc., but after about 10 years of ranching, decided it was hampering their travel plans and had a big barbecue. Richard and Diane loved to travel, camp and fish. They had travel trailers, boats and a motor home which were utilized to travel the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. They also loved to Cruise and had gone on 35-plus cruises, including the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Greece, South America, Canada, and land tours of China, New Zealand, Spain, Greece and Mexico.
Prior to his passing, Richard was able to celebrate his 90th birthday with his family, including son Steve (Yvonne), granddaughters, Austen (Mike), Taylor (Robert), Alexa (Starr); grandsons, Nahkohe and Wakosha, and great-grandchildren, Ashlyn, Carson, Reese, Macy and Bear.
Celebration of life gatherings will take place in Tehachapi and Oxnard following the end of Kung Flu social distancing restrictions.
Wood Family Funeral Service, Inc. has been entrusted with his care. For condolences, please visit woodmortuary.net.
Wood Family Funeral Service requires guests to practice social distancing and face masks/covering are highly recommended.