Dr. Richard D. Teeple (1928 - 2010)

Obituary
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  • "Dear Helen and Family, I always regretted that I didn't get..."
    - Judy McClellan Hilgenberg
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    - Don Heys
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Dr. Richard Duane Teeple passed away on Feb. 11, 2010, at the age of 81. He left behind his wife Helen; three children, Mary Chialastri of Superior, Wis., Ann Allard of Belgrade, Peter Teeple of Spokane, Wash.; and six grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Miriam Seim of St. Paul, Minn., and Faith Mohandes of Philadelphia, Pa.

Richard was born to Richard Sr. and Hazel Teeple in Muscatine, Iowa, on June 28, 1928. After high school graduation in 1946, he enlisted in the Army and served two tours in Korea. He was honorably discharged in 1951.

He attended college on the GI Bill, graduating from the University of Iowa School of Dentistry in 1956. Richard was the first in his family to earn a college degree.

He married Helen McMahon on June 23, 1956. Thereafter, Richard practiced dentistry in Des Moines and Hampton, Iowa. Ultimately he and Helen settled in Guthrie Center, Iowa, where they raised their family. Richard was an active member of his community and provided dental care - often pro bono - for the residents of Guthrie County for 35 years. Richard strongly believed and imbued in his children that service to others who are less fortunate is every person's duty.

Richard was well-read and conversant on a variety of topics. Likewise he had many interests and hobbies, including fly fishing and tying, travel and camping, pheasant hunting, skeet shooting, crossword puzzles, and remaining physically fit. He took up running in the early '70s before it become an accepted form of fitness. Indeed, it was not uncommon back then for the local farmers who saw him running on gravel roads to pull over and ask him if he needed a ride somewhere. As he aged the running gave way to walking. Until his death he walked two miles a day without fail.

It was his family, however, that provided him the greatest joy and fulfillment. He was a loyal and loving husband to Helen, his wife of 53 years, and had been her devoted caretaker the past several years as her eyesight has diminished.

Richard also fully embraced his role as a father and approached it with love, high expectations, and great pride. He believed his primary role was to prepare his children for adulthood - and the rigors that entailed - including academics. He spent 12 solid years at the dining room table after dinners helping his children with their algebra, geometry, calculus, physics and chemistry. He was also a stickler for proper grammar, syntax and punctuation. He believed education was the key to a better life. Part of that education also involved taking his family on trips every summer, which resulted in visiting all 48 of the contiguous United States and nearly all of America's national parks.

After Richard retired in 1992, he and Helen moved to Bella Vista, Ark., to enjoy a more temperate climate. In 2005, however, the desire to be closer to family took them to Belgrade. Getting to know his grandchildren was a delight for Richard. They provided him with much humor and unabashed affection during his final years.

In the end, Richard's spirit transcended the confines of his body swiftly and peacefully. At his request, there will be no formal service. However, the family plans to get together this summer to release his ashes into one of his favorite fishing streams - and to celebrate his life in so doing.

Private family services will be held at a later date.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service; www.dokkennelson.com.
Funeral Home
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 587-3184
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Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Feb. 17 to Feb. 21, 2010
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