Richard Dwight Lutes
August 29, 1918 - October 24, 2013
Richard Dwight Lutes, age 95, died peacefully on Thursday night, Oct. 24, at Willamette Lutheran Retirement Community in Keizer. Kathryn Lutes, his wife of 73 years, preceded him in death by four months and a day.
A public memorial service will be held in Grace Chapel of the retirement home at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.
Richard was born August 29, 1918, in Missouri Valley, Iowa, the fourth of five children of Luther Lutes, a railroad blacksmith, and Mabel Lutes, a homemaker. As a child, he took violin lessons, which sparked a lifelong passion for music. He branched out to play piano, saxophone and trumpet as well. He grew up in Nebraska, graduating in 1937 from Norfolk High School, where, with his musical talent, he sometimes shared the stage with "The Great Carsoni," later known as entertainer Johnny Carson.
Richard met Kathryn at Park College in Parkville, Missouri. The couple remembered dancing to "In the Mood" on Valentine's Day 1938, their first date. They married the day before St. Patrick's Day 1940. Richard earned a bachelor's degree in science from Wayne State Teachers
College in Nebraska before joining the U.S. Navy
during World War II
, serving as a Seaman First Class. Afterward, while he and Kathryn were raising their young family of three children, he earned a master's degree in education from the University of Iowa
, Iowa City, in 1947.
His career as an educator began in Laurel, Neb., where he taught high school science and band. He later became a high school band director in Paulina, Iowa, a high school principal in Elkader, Iowa, and, still later, spent years as an elementary schoolteacher and principal in Hollister, Idaho, and Brownsville, Ore. He retired from Central Linn School District in 1979. During his career, to help support his family, he worked stints in a meat-packing company in Sioux City, Iowa, and a tungsten mill in the Colorado Rockies.
Everywhere he lived, Richard fished, whether for trout in Colorado, steelhead in Idaho or salmon in Oregon. On calm days, he loved to pilot his 17-foot Boston Whaler over the bar in Depoe Bay. Other interests included golf, which he played nearly every day when he and Kathryn moved to Salem after retirement, and rollerblading, which he took up at age 80. The couple, who had visited most U.S. states, expanded their travels to include Egypt, Israel, Scotland, Malaysia, Japan, Germany, Austria and Mexico.
Richard's children and grandchildren remember his patience, whether waiting for a fish to bite, building a doghouse or finding treasures on the beach. They also remember his dry sense of humor, masked behind a serious face. He maintained those qualities of patience and humor after a stroke several years ago that left him unable to walk, and he drew on them again and again as he battled depression and tried to carry on after Kathryn's death.
He is survived by his son David Lutes and daughter-in-law Gina Lutes; daughter Sally Cheriel and son-in-law Chad Cheriel, daughter Susan Hillway and son-in-law Chan Hillway; 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
Richard's and Kathryn's ashes will be buried together at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. Arrangements by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.