Obituary: Richard Franklin Dworsky Ph.D
Richard Franklin Dworsky Ph.D
1942 — 2018
Dr. Dickie, Captain USMC from Steamboat and Anchorage, died November 5th returning from a pheasant-hunting trip taken with friends he’d known for over 55 years. Richard was born in Lebanon, Missouri, August 13, 1942 where his parents Leonard and Diana Dworsky were stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood during WWII. He attended Lincoln High School in Portland Oregon, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1965 (Forestry), playing football and developing unreserved affection for the Wolverines. He received his Master’s degree in Natural Resources from Colorado State University in 1972, and his Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of Massachusetts 1986.
Over his career, Richard spent 37 years in Alaska, 15 with the Bureau of Land Management working to effectively manage and preserve the lands of the western US and Alaska. He met his wife Sally while living in Waitsfield, Vermont, directing projects for the New England River Basin Commission, and skiing at Mad River Glen. Before that, he was the Director of Forestry for the Department of Natural Resources San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Maryland Land Use Specialist for the Interstate Commission of the Potomac River, and Natural Resources Planner for the Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Board in Rochester New York.
Richard was proud to have served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, Basic School 5-67, serving in Vietnam from 1967-1970, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines as Rifle Platoon and Company Commander. He was a reserve officer from 1970 to 1977. A decorated combat hero with numerous personal citations, his actions with India Company on Hill 881S during the siege of Khe Sanh earned him the Bronze Star, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Additional citations include the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, the National Defense Medal, and 3 Purple Hearts. He maintained important friendships with his brothers-in-arms throughout his entire life, and recently wrote in a newspaper article, “I didn’t pick the men I fought with but I have an attachment to them that cannot be described – and I have the same attachment to those who carry on today. Never have I given anyone the trust I gave these men.”
Richard’s entire professional and intellectual career reflected his deep respect for the natural world. Like his father and his brothers, he focused on the planning and management of water and land resources, balancing the needs of people and nature. He authored numerous professional papers, and was a member of the American Water Resources Association, as well as Rotary International in Anchorage East, the Michigan Alumni Association, Trout International and the Rocky Mountain Angling Club.
He was an excellent charismatic friend and raconteur; a skier, an avid hunter, an expert marksman, an adventurous traveller, and an accomplished fly fisherman. Pursuing trout, bonefish and salmon worldwide with his fly rod was his passion. In Alaska, he volunteered at Alpenglow Ski Area skiing with veterans and individuals with special needs. He was a genuine scholar and a voracious reader of history of all kinds focusing on military, American, and natural history. Richard carried on his family’s legacy: public service to his country, care for the world around him, steadfast affection for colleagues and friends, and an unwavering devotion to his family.
Richard is survived by his beloved children Karenth Love, Joshua Crosby and his wife Sally Love, his sister Barbara (Carl) Shulman, his brother Donald (Lynn), nephew Misha Dworsky, his nephews Michael Kaikane, Noa Tagiilima, and Reuben Leonard and his sister-in-law Elena Dworsky. He is predeceased by his younger brother Michael, his sister Andrea, and his parents.
Richard will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There will be a Celebration of Life on Tuesday November 13 at 5:30 pm at Freshies restaurant in Steamboat and another in Anchorage on December 8.
Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made in his name to Khe Sanh Veterans Scholarship Fund, C/O: Tom Eichler, KSV Scholarship Fund, 3221 N. Opal Ave., Chicago, IL 60634-3042.
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