Richard Harrison Haltom
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September 5, 1926 - November 14, 2013
Resident of Santa Cruz
Richard Harrison Haltom, known as Dick, was born in West Hollywood on September 5, 1926 to Russell Haltom of Indiana and Mildred Fish of Iowa; he had two siblings, Russ and Margaret.
As a child growing up in the 1930's, he was a boy Tom Sawyer would be proud of: dipping the long blond braids of a girl who sat in front of him in elementary school into the blue-black inkwell on his desk; leading the nervous neighbor boys up to the Hollywood sign one darkening evening to sleep for the night, killing a pigeon with rocks so his young friends and him could roast it in the empty lot down the street; and finally punching the bigger kid who took one newspaper a day from the stack he trying to sell on the street corner, and for the record, that kid never came around to bother him any more.
Dick attended Fairfax High and joined the young men's club, the Lancers, where he made true life long friendships. He enlisted the navy in 1945 where he trained as a 1st class seaman and an aerial gunner. He was a life long patriot and took great pride for serving in the US Navy. After his discharge, he married Mary Lou Schiros of Los Angeles in 1949. At age 23, he became a carpenter; he was a member of the carpenters union for 39 years. Dick and Marylou had 4 sons: Richard, Timothy, Christopher, and Scott. Seeking opportunity and clean air, Dick moved his family up to Lake Tahoe, CA in 1963, where his 4 boys grew up hiking, camping, and fishing in Desolation Wilderness. He loved the wilderness and went hiking and fishing many times during the week. Truly a man of his generation-unapologetically spendthrift and simple-his family often kidded him about the camping equipment he had for 40 years: a rickety external frame backpack; a weather beaten, duct-taped sleeping bag; and a tin pot with a hole in the side that he'd filled with tree resin to patch up. He wasn't a man of comforts; he was a man of adventure.
In 1971, Dick married his second wife, Carol Graney, and in 1979, Dick's 5th son, Gregory, was born. While in retirement Dick focused on woodworking. After a noble fight against a tropical lung disease he got in the navy, he laid to rest early in the morning Thursday, November 14th. He was 87 years old. A memorial will be held at Benito & Azzaro Funeral home at 3 pm on Thursday, November 21st.
His final wish was that his 5 boys would hike up to Kilmia Lake in Desolation Wilderness to sprinkle his ashes and pass around a bottle of whiskey in remembrance of him: a tough, straightforward, sentimental, inquisitive, and convivial man-their dad.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Nov. 21, 2013