Better known as "Dick Decker" during his lifetime, was born near Pittsburgh, PA on April 22, 1926, to Dr. Harry Decker and Marian Shuman. He died December 6, 2013, in Seattle, WA after living a full and colorful 87 years. The eldest of three children, both his brother, Roger Decker, and sister, Anne Siebert, preceded him in death. Dick attended Shadyside and Mercersburg Academies and he graduated from Princeton University in 1947. He was very devoted to his alma mater - fundraising and functioning as an ongoing contact for the "old guard" - a label still shared by senior alumni at Princeton reunions. Dick served in the Armed Forces for two years, where he was trained as a Japanese interpreter. He met Sally Jane Miles, originally from Duluth, MN, when visiting New York City and they married. Dick then had a 39-year career with ALCOA Aluminum Company, living near Buffalo, NY where son Richard Miles Decker was born; then Farmington, MI where daughter Linda Ruth Decker was born and finally settling into Allison Park, PA for many years. The family enjoyed camping and traveling and were active members of The Church of Our Saviour in Glenshaw. When their son died of cancer in 1983, Dick and Sally began a memorial scholarship fund at Falcon Camp in Carrollton, OH. Upon retirement, Sally and Dick decided to relocate to Seattle and they were members of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Mill Creek, WA for many years. Retirement calendars were full and, in fact, after Sally's passing in February 1994, Dick's activities accelerated as he enjoyed being part of northwest hiking and local excursion clubs, and experiencing world-wide travels. During one such trip he met Ruth Mary Fricke and they were joined in a blessed union ceremony at Mercer Island United Methodist Church. With Ruth, Dick then became active in the Mercer Island Historical Society. Bridge tournaments were also a priority, and in 2009, he earned his Life Master Certificate from the American Contract Bridge League. Cribbage and word games -especially Scrabble - as well as sports of all kinds (!) continued to be his passion. Dick courageously fought colon cancer surgery and rehab activities in early summer of 2013. In November, he suffered a stroke and fall leading to a fairly rapid decline in health. Dick Decker is survived by his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, Linda, Larry and Shannon Barnes of Bothell, WA; granddaughter, Elizabeth Johnson of Eugene, OR; and seven nieces and nephews who live coast to coast! He will be remembered not only by his family, but by many school, work, church, club and recreation contacts. A memorial service was held in the northwest on December 21, 2013, at Mercer Island United Methodist Church. Dick's ashes will be laid to rest in Allegheny County Memorial Park Cemetery in Allison Park on March 22, 2014.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Mar. 9, 2014