Kristy Reardan funeral speech for father Richard Frederick Mead on June 1, 2015
According to Pastor John my dad wanted a happy service. With that in mind I have a few stories. Dad was a lot of things, but he was never boring. A man who loved ceremonies, you could always count on him to attend graduations, including middle school, high school, college, and military basic. My dad decided to attend Kurtis’ Air Force boot camp graduation in Texas. Not wanting to travel alone, he met my brother-in-law, Brad and his wife at the Sacramento airport. He arrived 3 hours early to the airport and called Brad asking where he was. Brad had to tell him, “Dick, I am at work. It is too early, but I will see you in an hour and a half”. As told by Brad, “Meeting at the airport to leave for San Antonio as we’re walking to the gate to wait for our flight Dick says, All I had was a couple of dry muffins and coffee at my friend’s house. I need to get some candy”. Well he comes back with a giant Kit Kat and ate the whole thing. Then were was an African lady with her hair up in one of those colored wraps and Dick leans over and says, “Does it hurt to have that wrapped up like that? I like the color of your wrap”. He had a lot of personality, sort of blunt and intrusive but endearing at the same time. He talked to complete strangers and asked them things that were sometimes borderline, but they didn’t seem to get offended because he was coming from a place of persistent curiosity. We will miss him. There were fairly long waits for the military graduation events so we had to claim our spot in the bleachers. We chose a fairly high up spot so that we could peer behind the bleacher to see Kurtis & his huge bass drum lined up to march with the band onto the field. My dad climbed on all fours to navigate these steep metal bleachers with help from other attendees. Once settled in our seats the men decided to go to the gift store, while the women guarded the seats. The men arrived back, Dick with candy bar in hand, and the bleacher crawl on all fours to the top resumed. My dad had a lot of determination. After a day of ceremony & marching band, we went back to our hotel to rest. At 5 pm Dayton answered the phone call from Dad asking, “When are we going to dinner?” Dayton responded, “Why, are you hungry, Dick?” My dad then stated, “No, but it is cocktail hour”. He had his own sense of time and would let you know it.
A year ago my dad bravely decided to fly to MN for Carrie’s college graduation. His flight had connections through LAX and somehow his luggage didn’t arrive in MN. Dayton had a long wait at the airport and tried to call Dad’s cell phone. Dad could hear it ringing but didn’t know how to answer it. He asked someone for help and managed to answer the call. With help he realized his bag wasn’t there and filled out the paperwork. The bag was delivered to the MN house in the middle of the night. A funny memory for me was the 6 am tapping on our hotel door in Madison with Dad saying, “time to go to the breakfast buffet”. I told him I was awake, but not out of bed yet and I would meet him at breakfast as soon as I could get dressed. Again, my dad had his own time schedule. Carrie posted on Facebook, “Rest in peace Grandpa Dick. I hope you and Grammy are reunited and keeping watch on us from up above.
This unexpected loss was tough, but I feel lucky you were able to come to my graduation this past year and I am glad you had Wesley around to spend your last few weeks with. Your memory will be kept in our hearts with love.”
My dad always wanted to learn and was an avid reader of non-fiction learning books, magazines, and investment newspapers. Maybe I should say an avid gatherer of these materials as I am not sure how much of the information was actually read. My dad hated throwing out any of these precious materials. If anyone needs a back copy of Forbes, Morningstar, Consumer Reports, or Christian books or study guides we have them (some in triplicate). If my dad determined that a family member had an interest in a subject he would send them a subscription. Sometimes he would ask if we would like the book or magazine, but sometimes they would magically appear in the mail. He showed us he loved us by finding our area of interest and hoping to help us learn more about the subject.
When my mom died she left my dad a calendar with all of the kids’ and grandkids’ birthdays on it so he could continue to make his offspring feel special. My dad did his best to send a card to each relative on his birthday with a generous amount of cash. Sometimes he was late, but eventually he would find the mistake, and send the card. This was one way my dad showed his love for us. At recent family weddings my dad commented that seeing how happy the bride and groom were made him very happy.
My dad loved to call people on the phone and check in, especially when dinner was just about to be served. Our family has a saying if somebody gets on the phone at the very worst moment, “you’re pulling a Grandpa Dick”. Sometimes he would suddenly hand the phone to an unsuspecting family member and say, “here, talk to so-and-so”, an unexpected but interesting experience. Living in MN we didn’t get to see my dad very often, but we talked to him on the phone just about every night. Dayton would answer the phone and the conversation would start, “Ah Dick, you are still alive & kicking”. Dad would respond, “yes, I am”. “How was your day today, Dick? What’s on the boil”? He would respond with his daily activities. The last month we received 3 calls per day from Grandpa. We will miss those phone calls. Adamantly opposed to moving out of his house, Dick asked one night, “Did you send Wesley to take care of me”? We told him, “No, Wesley drove himself out to find a computer job and in the process ended up in Moraga with his grandfather”.
My dad loved his family, friends, and fraternity brothers. My dad did not particularly like sports but always had season tickets to Cal football games. His highlight was visiting with fraternity brothers after the game. Over the years the fraternity brothers have remained a loyal bunch.
Church was very important to my dad. When he retired, he added men’s bible study and a morning prayer group to his routine. With all of the bible studies and church groups, the family sometimes questioned Dad, “Did you practice what was preached”? My dad loved God and strove to instill a love of the Lord within and outside his family.
In summary Tom Veit posted on line, “RIP Grandpa Dick Mead. Thanks for raising such great children, Rick Mead, Kristy Reardan, & Sandra Veit and for being a wonderful grandfather and great grandfather.”