Port St. Lucie, FL
Richard James Boushka, passed away early morning on February 19, 2019 while being supported and cared for by his dear friend Regina. Richard was born in St Louis, Missouri on July 29, 1934 to Richard James Boushka and Mildred Eberle Boushka. He was the oldest of two children. They move to Springfield, Illinois where he was active in basketball, football, baseball and golf during his youth.
Boushka attended Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, before enrolling at Saint Louis University in 1951. He was a standout basketball player and student during his time at SLU. On the basketball court, Boushka ended his illustrious Billiken career owning virtually every scoring record at the time. His career scoring average of 19.3 ppg over 75 games still ranks second in school history. Additionally, he is 11th all-time at SLU in total points with 1,448. Boushka earned All-America honors in 1955. Academically, he was one of the University's brightest students. He was the highest ranking student among geophysical engineering majors in his class. Boushka is a 1976 inductee into the Billiken Hall of Fame and was voted to SLU's Men's Basketball All-Century team in 2015. His No. 24 jersey is retired and hangs in the rafters of Chaifetz Arena.
Following his graduation from SLU in 1955, Boushka earned a gold medal while playing on the 1956 United States Olympic team in Melbourne, Australia. His Olympic team still holds the record for largest margin of victory. He holds an Olympic record which can never be broken, just tied. Highest percentage free throws (100%), minimum 10 attempts. He then was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers, but chose instead to play semi-pro basketball for Vickers Petroleum team, while working for the company. He continued to leave his mark on the sport of basketball throughout his lifetime, and in 1987 he was selected as the President of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
He married Joan Lillis in 1956 and moved to Wichita, Kansas. Where they reared 5 sons. Spending countless hours watching them play sports and grow into adults.
He quickly moved up the Vickers company ladder, becoming the president of the company by the time he was 29. He retired from corporate world and became an entrepreneur in his late 40's, owning restaurants, shopping centers, interests in an energy company and a race track.
He maintained a strong faith throughout his life and enjoyed attending weekly Mass and educated his children through the parochial system. He enjoyed golfing, playing cards, smoking his cigars, listening to his beloved Cardinals on the radio, watching his sons and grandchildren play all kind of sports and spending time at the race track. His love of the track started with owning horses and moved into track ownership (Woodlands in Kansas City).
He was a kind, sweet, gentle man. He was not a glass half full, but a glass "full" kind of guy. He always saw the best in people and was a pleasure to be around. His personality was larger than life. Most of all he was proud of his sons, a lasting legacy which will continue in the next generations.
Richard is survived by his five children - Richard III (Julie), Michael (Lois), James (Patricia), Patrick(Michele), John (Tricia), 11 Grandchildren - Christine, Paul, Morgan, Brian, Mark, Bridget, Andrew, Bryce, Megan, Matthew and Bennett. Richard was preceded in death by his parents Richard and Mildred Boushka and his sister Diane Dondero.
A mass dedicated to him will be held in Port St. Lucie and Houston. Donations can be sent in his memory to Prince of Peace Catholic Community, 19222 Tomball Parkway, Houston, Texas 77070.
Published in TC Palm on Mar. 3, 2019.