Christian, Richard

Christian, Richard Edds "Dick"

RICHARD "Dick" EDDS CHRISTIAN, 92, a Dayton native, passed away on April 18, 2024. Born January 4, 1932, he is survived by the woman he married, the former Edith Jean Jennell; a daughter Cynthia (Cindy) Anne Christian and her husband Charles Randall (Randy) Rogers; a son Richard Scott Christian and his wife, the former Glenda J. McDonald; a grandson Seth Lane Christian and his wife, the former Kelly Louise Cochran; and three great-grandchildren, Louise Lane, Molly Jo, and Charles Patrick Christian; as well as several nephews and nieces, whose company he always appreciated. He was preceded in death by his parents Elbert Richard and Edythe Edds Christian and sisters Shirley Anne Christian and Margaret Virginia Christian, as well as their husbands Robert (Bob) Kramer and Ray Thiele, respectively.

Dick grew up in Dayton. He attended Irving Elementary School, becoming a finalist in a citywide spelling bee and winning a citywide art contest for his rendition of Paul Bunyan. In 1950 he graduated from Roosevelt High School, where he played football and ran track, earning five athletic letters and playing in Dayton's first All-Star football game. He scored more than 130 points while pole vaulting, high jumping, and running the high and low hurdles and half-mile relay, finishing third in the low hurdles in the city meet.

After receiving a football scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Superior, he played all four years and also participated in ROTC. On the football field, he could kick the ball 60 yards and had hoped to try out as a punter with the Green Bay Packers until a knee injury ended his football career. During the summers, he taught swimming at Cricket Holler in Dayton and Camp Fidelity in Lake Amnicon, Wisconsin, where he ran the waterfront and led canoe trips on the St. Croix River. While he was in college he helped fell a large Norway Pine and create the lumber to build a wooden sailboat using plans from a 1938 Popular Mechanics magazine. He graduated with a bachelor of mathematics degree in 1954.

That same year he received his officer's commission in the U.S. Air Force. After entering active duty in 1955, he was posted to Bartow AFB, Florida, for basic pilot training; then to Bryan AFB, Texas, for advanced training; and next to helicopter school at Gary AFB in San Marcos, Texas. He subsequently was stationed in Marquette, Michigan; Madison, Wisconsin; Bitburg, Germany; East Falmouth, Massachusetts; and Columbia, Missouri, where he earned his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering as a participant in the AFIT program, earning spots in Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical engineering honor society, and Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.

He served twice in Southeast Asia, based in Udorn, Thailand. He was then assigned to FTD at Wright-Patterson AFB, where he retired as a major in 1976. Over the course of his military service, he flew many reciprocating and jet aircraft and received many awards, including outstanding service ribbons and the Bronze Star. After retiring, he worked as a defense contractor with various companies serving the base and also rebuilt a SAAB, long his favorite car. He also was exceptionally skilled as a macrame artist; became an early adopter of personal computers, enjoying genealogy research online; and regularly frequented the Hasty Tasty, where he ate breakfast with his closest Air Force friends for years.

His family and friends will miss his wacky sense of humor, horrible puns, and penchant for shaggy-dog stories and novelty songs. Although later in life he lost most of his vision and the use of his legs, he remained upbeat, active on his iPad, and fond of outsmarting-or trying to outsmart-everyone else.

Dick donated his body to the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Anatomical Gift Program. A private memorial service will be held on a date to be determined.

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