Dick died July 31, 2019 at his home in Hood River, Oregon, with his wife, Denise, by his side. He was 73 at the time of his passing. He was born December 22, 1945 in Roseburg, Oregon, to Henry K. (Hap), and Edna (Goesch) Spielman. The family lived for a time in Vanport, Oregon during WWII, then returned to
Dick graduated from Roseburg High School in 1964. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Army where he began his long career in aviation. He spent three years as a helicopter mechanic. After being discharged he lived and worked in the Portland area for a number of years. He worked for Western Skyways in Troutdale, Oregon; Columbia Helicopters in Portland and Alaska; and taught Aviation Maintenance at Portland Community College. After five years teaching at the college, he joined Goodyear Airship Operations as a blimp mechanic on the California based airship "Columbia". Spending the next ten years traveling across the country (and a trip to Italy) building and operating airships. After Columbia's 1982 summer tour, he met his future wife, Denise Smith. They married one year later. In 1984, they stopped traveling with the blimp and moved back to Portland. He hired on with Horizon Air Lines in 1986 as a mechanic in component overhaul. He retired from Horizon Air Lines, in June, 2019, after thirty-three years.
While at Horizon Air Lines, at the request of a niece, he became "Santa" for her Children's Christmas party. He had found his calling. Naturally a kind and generous man with a hearty laugh and happy demeanor, his was the soul of Santa! His December schedule was filled with appearances for charities, non-profits, private parties and the annual company party at his workplace, Horizon Air.
Recently having moved to Hood River, Oregon, he was the 2018 Santa for the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) where he was a volunteer in aircraft restoration. He was scheduled to be the Santa on the Mt. Hood Railway Christmas train; this was not to be though. Wherever he went, all year round, his greatest joy was to hand out candy canes to brighten the day for everyone he came in contact with, as he was instantly recognizable. He thoroughly enjoyed being frequently asked to pose for pictures ("elfies"). He was indeed, one of a kind!
He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Edna Spielman, and a brother, Little Joe, who died in infancy. He is survived by his wife Denise, step-daughter Alaina Smith (Frank Rytkonen), brother Robert Spielman, (Carolyn), sister Sharon (Doug) Brackenbrough, and sister Trudi Schaffer. Also many nieces, nephews, cousins, and great and great-great nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on September 28, 2019, at Westminster Presbyterian Church (1624 NE Hancock Street Portland, OR). In lieu of flowers, the family would very much appreciate your consideration of a donation to WAAAM, or to Heart of Hospice Foundation, or to Domestic Violence Resource Center Oregon, designated in the memo line. Donations can be mailed C/O Anderson's Tribute Center (1401 Belmont Avenue, Hood River, Oregon 97031).