Richard (Dick) Charles Wharton of Roseburg, Oregon, passed away Tuesday, December 18, 2018, due to complications from a fall. He was 91 years old.
Richard was born to Ralph and Hedwig Wharton on August 3, 1927, in Chicago, Illinois.
Richards parents lived in 13 different homes in the Chicago area while he was growing up.
Richard used to joke that his parents never travelled much, they just moved when they wanted to see something new. As a boy, Richard enjoyed playing in the fields and woods near his homes. He also enjoyed building balsa wood model airplanes, which he hung around his bedroom. This hobby led to a lifelong interest in planes and aviation in general. As a teenager, Richard enjoyed participating in school sports programs, including baseball, basketball, and football. Around this time, he also began developing his artistic talents, which were greatly admired by his classmates. He was active in the Boy Scouts, ultimately achieving the Eagle Scout medal. Richard graduated from Hinsdale High School on June 7, 1945.
During his senior year, Richards interest in aviation led him to enlist with the U.S. Army Air Corp. He would start active duty after graduation. He was informed his induction date would be August 14, 1945. Richard hoped to be trained as a pilot. However, with World War 2 winding down, the Army didnt need more pilots. Initially, he was trained in Aircraft Engine Maintenance. One of his most powerful memories of this period in his life, was starting the four engines of a B-17 bomber and running them through their tests. During his time in the service, Richard was stationed at Ft. Sheridan, Illinois, Keesler Field, Mississippi, Lincoln Air Force Base, Nebraska and Lowry Field, Colorado. He was discharged from the Army on November 16, 1946.
On September 12, 1946, while he was stationed at Lincoln Air Force Base, Richard met
Doris Jean (Bruegman) Amdor from Los Angeles, California. Richard and Doris hit it off
immediately, and dated every night for the next two months. In November, when Richard was transferred to Lowry Field for his discharge, they agreed that they would meet at Doris parents' home in Los Angeles. He arrived there in February of 1947, found a job and a room to rent, and spent the next six months seeing Doris every day. After six months, Richard was set to attend college in Spokane, Washington. Richard and Doris decided that she would follow Richard in a few months, and they would marry there. While there, Richard took business courses at Whitworth College. After the two were settled and had jobs, they married on March 12, 1948.
In January of 1949, Richard and Doris moved to Los Angeles, close to Doris parents. While living there, their first son, Ralph Grant Wharton, was born on September 29, 1949. In 1950, they moved to Deerfield, Illinois, close to Richards parents. By 1952, tired of Illinois winters, Richard and his family returned to California. They settled in Belmont, California. Richard took a job as a mail clerk with the U.S. Post Office which turned into a very successful career. Over the next 30 years, he worked his way up to being a Tour Superintendent at the Air Mail Facility for the San Francisco International Airport. The family grew with the births of David Michael Wharton on September 21, 1953, John Charles Wharton on July 30, 1956, and Hedi Ann Wharton on October 28, 1957. Richard retired from the Post Office in 1982.
After Richard retired, he and Doris lived for two years in Modesto, California. In 1985, they moved to Roseburg, Oregon, to be closer to daughter Hedis family. During his retirement, Richard took up watercolor painting, becoming quite proficient at it. He continued to pursue his interest in photography. He also devoted many hours to researching his familys genealogy, a hobby he enjoyed very much. He became very involved in the Umpqua Valley Amateur Radio Club, eventually being given a Lifetime Member Achievement Award in recognition of the contributions he had made. He and Doris also liked to travel with their camping trailer. In 1993, when Doris passed away, Richard was devastated to lose his lifelong friend and love.
After several years of learning how to cope with this loss, Richard was blessed with meeting Anna Jean Donahue. The two fell in love, and were married in 1997. They lived many happy years together in their home in Roseburg. Sadly, Richard again experienced the loss of a spouse when Jean passed away in 2010. Richard continued to live alone in their home in Roseburg until two years ago when he decided to move to an independent living apartment.
Richard was a kind, gentle person with a quick sense of humor. He was deeply devoted to his friends and family, and will be missed by all who knew him.
Richard is survived by his children, Ralph (Rene) Wharton, David (Kathleen) Wharton, and Hedi (James) Johnston; and by Jeans son, Ken (Kathy) Donahue; also, five grandchildren, Lieutenant Colonel John (Lisa) Geis, Nicholas (Christina) Wharton, James M. Johnston and Stephany Childress, Melissa Tristany, and Jeremy Johnston; and eight great-grandchildren, Alexander Geis, Cassidy Geis, Bridgette Geis, Connor Johnston, Skylar Johnston, Jean Tristany, Anthony Tristany, and Tiberius Tristany.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at the Roseburg Memorial Gardens Cemetery.