Richard went home to be with his Lord Jesus Christ on June 4th 2022, at the age of 88, unexpectedly, and from sudden heart failure, at his home in Parksville.
Richard had a love for life, a relentless optimism, and an enduring hope which filled his life. His faith and patient strength was a source of great inspiration to those who knew and loved him, as was his love, wisdom and kindness.
Richard grew up in modest circumstances but he had big dreams. In his late teens he travelled to Europe hitchhiking through Canada and then making the ocean crossing on a freighter. He criss-crossed the UK on a bicycle, working at odd jobs when the money was running out. He would tell us proudly that he left Canada with one thousand dollars that he had earned working in logging camps and when he came back from his long trip he still had one thousand dollars in his pocket.
Richard was a self-taught man, a voracious reader. You’d even find a pile of books in his bathroom. If you mentioned that this was an odd place to read, he’d say: where else can you have such peace and solitude to read? His favourite reading topic was religion, but that was closely followed by politics, old-time novels and poetry. Even in his late life he could recite verse after verse by heart and delight his audience by spicing his recitations with a Scottish or Irish lilt.
Richard was a master of language. It came naturally to him. He loved to invent magical children’s stories for his young kids but also wrote other kinds of pieces. Some of them were accepted by CBC and broadcast. On a personal level, he delighted in teasing his wife with old-English quotes from writers long gone. When she looked puzzled and couldn’t make out what he said, she would say: “Please speak in plain English!” He would then grin and explain the phrase.
Music was Richard’s way to express his emotions. When troubled by something, he would take out his harmonica and play a comforting tune, an old-time hymn or a folk song. When in an upbeat mood, he would belt out familiar folk tunes, making quite a spectacle of himself when he was able to reach the very low notes. On a bus trip around Ireland he delighted his fellow travellers with Irish tunes on his mouth organ. It was Richard’s way of connecting with people and making them happy.
Despite all of Richard’s many talents, he remained modest, never trying to put himself forward. Modesty and honesty were to him fundamental Christian principles. Richard was a gentle soul and a gentleman in the truest sense. An exceptional individual who lived the best life he could.
He was a devoted husband, and a loving father and grandfather. He enjoyed going for walks, discussing current events, reading and writing about theological matters, and gardening. He lived a long, healthy and fruitful life, and his passing happened the way he hoped it would – quickly, and with a sound mind and body.
He will be lovingly remembered and deeply missed by his wife Marlies, his four children, Erin (Jonathan), Cliff (Sylvia), Greg (Lorelei), Trevor (Kelly), and his grandchildren, all of whom he loved with all of his heart.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
Richard will be honored in a funeral service held at 11am on Saturday June 18th, 2022 at Yates Memorial in Parksville.