Our father, James H. Rich, passed peacefully away Monday, Dec. 21, at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas after a short illness. He was surrounded by his loving children, Raymond and Joan Rich, as well as his friend and caretaker, Phillip Russo.
Born Howard James Durkee to Helen Marie Zvonicek and Mack Edwin Durkee in Delmont, S.D., on April 29, 1927, Dad was adopted by his stepfather, John C. Rich, at age 14. Dad attended Benson High School in Omaha, Neb.
After graduation, Dad enlisted in the U.S Navy in April 1945. After an honorable discharge in August 1946, Dad attended business college in Omaha.
However, Dad preferred to work with his hands and eventually became a welder at Kaiser Steel Mill in Fontana, Calif.
Before his disability retirement in 1981, Dad enjoyed swimming, bicycling, home improvement projects and especially R.V. trips to Mexico with his beloved wife Jane and fun-loving cousins, Roy and Inez Laprath. Despite the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and a series of small strokes, Dad did not complain, but continued to enjoy many road trips with his children throughout Arizona, California and South Dakota, as well as visits to Branson, Mo., and Graceland in Memphis, Tenn.
In addition to his children, Raymond J. Rich of Kingman, and Joan Claire Rich of Napa, Calif., Dad is survived by three grandchildren, James Matthew Rich, and Nicholas and Zerah Saufnauer of California. He is also survived by two great-granddaughters, Angelina and Annabelle, also of California. He is also survived by his cousins, Roy and Inez Laprath of South Dakota and cousin, Gloria Vranek, and aunt, Sophia Dreyer of California.
His wife, Jane Ellen, brother William and parents predeceased him.
A gathering to celebrate Dad's life will be held in the afternoon on Sunday, Jan. 10, at his home in Kingman. Hopefully, there will be a football game on. Dad's favorites of lemon cake, whiskey sours and polish sausage and sauerkraut will be served.
Memorial donations may be made to "Keepers of the Wild" big cat and animal sanctuary near Valentine. Dad enjoyed his last visit there in July and was hoping to visit again this fall.
Be kind to one another. Appreciate your family, for you do not know what tomorrow may bring.