Richard L. James died quietly in his sleep on January 13, 2021 from complications arising from a leg infection. Richard or “Mr. Rich” as his family called him was born in Syracuse, KS on July 9, 1941 to Albert and Rowena James. He grew up in Syracuse and was a rambunctious child. As a young child he was often found down by the railroad tracks and at age 4 once hitched a ride to the next town and back with the conductor without the knowledge of his parents. His favorite story that he liked to tell was how he was bullied at school because of his red hair. One day he waited for the bully after school and with the teachers cheering made sure that guy never again bothered him. He also once put his dog in his neighbor’s chicken coop. He often worked with his dad who ran the Syracuse Journal Newspaper.
After graduating from Syracuse High School in 1957. He studied at University of Kansas for one year. His favorite story was about his roommate who was studying to be a doctor and kept a cadaver cat in a suitcase under the bed. Deciding that college was not for him he joined the US Air Force in 1963. After being discharged from the Air Force, he attended Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Ok where he earned his mechanic certificate. While in Tulsa, he met Martha Mueggenborg at a “Tall” club. After converting to Catholicism so Martha’s father would meet him, they were married on July 23, 1966 in Kingfisher Oklahoma at St Peter and Paul Catholic Church. After marriage they moved to LA where Richard started his first job as an airline mechanic. In 1968, they moved to Colorado where he worked for Frontier Airlines and raised his family. After Frontier went into bankruptcy, he served with the Air National Guard at Buckley Air Force base in Aurora, CO for 2 years. He was able to travel quite a bit with Air National Guard going to South Korea, Amsterdam, and Germany. He then took a job with Continental Airlines in Orlando, Florida until his retirement. They moved back to Greeley, Co in 2001 to be closer to family.
Richard enjoyed traveling. Every summer he and his wife would load the camper and kids and go for a week or two. He would sit by the fire at night and tell ghost stories. He was an avid boater, water skier and was the club president of the Mile High RC Airplane Club. He could fix anything and was often referred to as Mr. Fix-it. One of his favorite holidays was Halloween. He loved to hand out candy to the little kids and would often hide on the side of the garage and jump out with his mask on scaring the kids. He was especially proud of his full head of red hair and credited it to putting baby oil in it-a trick he learned in the air force.
Richard is survived by his wife of 55 years, Martha: Children Judy (Lee) Hagedorn, Ron (Cori) James and Teresa (Andy) Hinz; along with 8 grandchildren-Sara, Matt, Quinn, Samantha, Ryan, Kylie, Alex and Katie.
In Lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Richard's name to:
Alzheimer's Association Colorado Chapter
455 Sherman Street, #500
Denver, Colorado 80203
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