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Richard Arnold Cephas

1939 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Richard Arnold Cephas Obituary
Richard Arnold Cephas

AGE: 76 •

Richard Arnold " Dick" Cephas, 76, beloved husband of JoAnn V. Cephas, died peacefully on November 9, 2015 at John Dempsey Hospital with his wife of 30 years at his side after a long struggle with a progressive neurological disease.

Born March 13, 1939 in Wilmington, Delaware, he was the son of the late James Edward Cephas and Sarah Corbin Cephas. Dick attended Howard High School where he was Co-Captain of the Track and Football teams. He held the High Jump and Low Hurdles Delaware state record. He graduated and was offered full scholarships to Michigan, Dartmouth, Indiana and William & Mary. Dick attended the University of Michigan and was a member of their track team. He was a three-time NCAA outdoor All-American, earning the honor in the high jump in 1959 before moving to the track to earn the other two in the 440-yard hurdles in 1960 and 1961. He was also the Big Ten outdoor champion in the 220-yard low hurdles in 1961. He competed at the 1960 Olympic Trials. He later became a member of the U.S. Military track team, where he won a bronze medal in the 440-yard intermediate hurdles at the Military Olympics in Brussels. He was inducted into Michigamua Society and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Dick was inducted into the Delaware Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1994, the University of Michigan Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. After graduating with a degree in Industrial Art & Design, he was recruited by General Motors and climbed the career ladder to become GM's first African-American Zone Manager located in Boston and Truck Center Manager in Minneapolis. After 24 years with GM, he spent 12 years as a GM Auto Dealer in Winsted and Chicopee, MA. In retirement, he enjoyed painting and drawing, especially vintage airplanes, cars and sports figures and generously gave his art away to all who asked. He was a die-hard UM football fan and rarely missed a game. Dick was a private pilot, enjoyed flying his Mooney aircraft and loved to travel, especially to the Caribbean.

Besides his wife, Dick is survived by his daughter Candice M. Diaz and her husband Adrian of Pittsburg, CA, his son Troy R. Cephas and his wife Jade of Chicago, IL, stepson Kupambazua Furaha, stepdaughter Lahaja Furaha, his ten grandchildren who lovingly called him "Pop-Pop", Max, Carter, Davis and Ellis, Jasmine, Taylore, Brooke, Skylar, Zoey and Elisha, his brother Alan Cephas and his wife Catherine of Wilmington, DE, his sister Sheila Oliver of West Chester, PA and many nieces, nephews, cousins and good friends. He was predeceased by his brother James Edward Cephas Jr., and his sister Rose Marie Mason. The family wishes to thank the doctors and staff of UConn Health Center, Hospital for Special Care and Hartford Hospital Hospice Care for their wonderful care.

Friends may call at The Ahern Funeral Home, 111 Main St., Rt. 4, Unionville on Wednesday (Nov. 18) from 10:00 - 11:00am. Funeral Services will be held in The Ahern Funeral Home at 11:00am followed by burial with full military honors in State Veteran's Cemetery, Middletown. Memorial contributions may be made to , 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to the VFW, 406 West 34th Street, Suite 718, Kansas City, MO 64111. To send online condolences to the family, please visit

Published in The News Journal on Nov. 15, 2015
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