On June, 16th, 1932, Richard "Dick" Meredith came into the world in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 13, Dick's family moved to Des Moines, where he attended Roosevelt High School alongside his big sister Cleojean. Always a quiet boy, Dick could frequently be seen sitting silently, peering through his coke bottle glasses, while living out adventures that existed between the walls of his head. Despite his reserved nature, Dick had a small collection of close friends and loved playing sport and reading. Whether it was tossing a football or shooting baskets for hours on end, he found happiness in the little things.
Dick also had a great passion for music. Those who knew him, fondly recall how he would carry his radio wherever he went, singing happily along to his favorite singer Bing Crosby.
Dick, entered his first institution at the age of 15. He received an unauthorized lobotomy at 17. beginning a life he would never understand, and from which he could never return. He was in and out of various county homes, and hospitals for 48 years. He finally found peace at Clarinda Treatment Center in Southwest Iowa and remained there for 20 years.
Richard, was a big man, a gentle giant. His face always had a smile on it. His eyes would light up when he saw his favorite caregivers or his sisters. He loved Hershey bars, and music just as his father had, and he was very proud of the medal he won while participating in the Special Olympics.
No one knows for sure what Richard may have accomplished in his life, that was taken away from him. He was lost for a very long time in a broken mental health system.
We are forever thankful to the loving members of the Clarinda Treatment Community who cared for Richard, loved him, and in a very real sense became extended members of our family.
Dick's family will join for a private memorial service to celebrate his life and mourn his passing. His immediate family included his parents, David R. and Coreta Meredith, both deceased. His sisters, Cleojean Olson, of Des Moines and Melanie Haupert of Iowa City. Three nephews, David and Brad Olson and Christoper Haupert all of Des Moines, and three nieces Meredith Olson, Dana Vasey, of Des Moines and Kelly Enyart of Iowa City and many grand-nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be sent to NAMI - National Association on Mental Illness 3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100 Arlington, Va 22203 In memory of Richard Meredith.
"A society is ultimately judged by how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable members"- Anonymous
Published in Des Moines Register from Sept. 15 to Sept. 22, 2013