RICHARD WAYNE RUTHERFORD
October 15, 1940 March 20, 2020
Richard (Rich) Rutherford, MSGT, USAF, Retired, passed away peacefully on March 20, 2020 with his family by his side.
Richard was born in Decatur, Ill. on October 15, 1940 to Virgil and Irene (Yoder) Rutherford. Shortly after his birth, the Rutherford family moved to a farm outside of Bethany, Ill where they raised corn ad soybean crops. Richard and his sisters attended the small, local schools where Richard met his wife, Gale. Growing up on a farm in Bethany, Ill. with his two sisters, Ann and Jeanie, Richard developed skills that would lead to a 20-year career in the Air Force, a master carpenter at Enercon, and superior craftsman at home.
While in the Air Force, Rich served as a Medical Laboratory Specialist in hospitals in Ohio, Viet Nam, Washington D.C., Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico. During his time in Florida, he provided medical support to NASA astronauts for the Apollo 16 and 17, Skylab 1, 2, and 3 missions, as well as the Apollo-Soyuz test project. Upon completion of his service in Florida, Richard was transferred to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in 1977 where he enjoyed providing medical support for future Air Force Officers. During his career in the Air Force, he was awarded two commendation medals for meritorious service as Non-
Commissioned Officer In Charge of Microbiology and Chemistry for Air Force Eastern Test Range at Patrick Air Force Base and for Clinical Lab Work at the Air Force Academy. Richard retired from the Air Force in 1983.
After retiring from the Air Force, Richard pursued a second 20-year career working for Enercon, using his carpentry skills to create custom bay windows that can be seen in houses all around Colorado Springs. At home he was the consummate craftsman and enjoyed participating in the Rocky Mountain Tool Collectors association. Richard gained his woodworking skills on the family farm in Bethany, Ill. He taught himself to solve problems using available resources. The gift of creative problem solving was admired by many.
Throughout his life, Richard enjoyed taking his family on road trips to see the National Parks and to visit family. His favorite parks were Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Parks. After retirement, Richard and Gale continued to enjoy traveling the country visiting national parks and their children on the east and west coasts. At home, he proudly flew the American Flag every day.
Richard is survived by his wife of 56 years, Gale and their two children, Rebecca (Dale) Gassman and Robert (Courtney) Rutherford, two grandsons, Hayden and Alex Rutherford, a sister Jeannie (Bill) Walters, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his Parents, Virgil and Irene, and sister, Ann (Rutherford) Hagen.
Services will be held at 1st Presbyterian church on Aug. 14th at 2:30. Reservations are requires: https://my.firstprescos.org/rutherfordmemorial
Internment has taken place at the Pikes Peak National Cemetery.
Richard was a quiet, gentle soul well like by all who knew him. He will be deeply missed. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to UC Children's Hospital, 40490 Briargate Parkway, Colorado Springs 80920.