Obituary of Richard E. Determan
Richard Edward Determan, beloved and devoted husband, father, and papa went to be with the Lord Wednesday, June 27, 2018, surrounded by his loving family.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Alice Melinda Determan, his sister Ramona Louise Determan, his daughter Melinda Susan Fredricks and husband Jim, his son Brian Richard Determan, grandchildren Barron Richard Fredricks and wife Sunnie, Benjamin Thomas Fredricks and wife Kindall, Brennan James Fredricks and wife Josslyn, Branson Paul Fredricks, and Brooklyn Noel Joy Fredricks, and great-grandchildren Jack Barron Fredricks, Jillian Rose McBee, and yet-to-be-born great-granddaughter Naomi Teal Fredricks, and nephew David Determan.
Richard was born March 11, 1933 in Wood River, Illinois to Raymond Frederick Determan and Cora Margaret Mindrup Determan, youngest of three siblings born to the family. Richard spent his boyhood in Wood River, Illinois, graduated high school there in 1950, and not yet wanting to start college, went to work at a golf club in Chicago, where he enjoyed making new friends and learning the game of golf, and also briefly working for the railroad. Eventually he was called into service by his country and, following in the footsteps of his older brother, William August Determan, enlisted in the U.S. Navy to serve his country as a radioman on the U.S.S. Carmick Destroyer and Minesweeper in the Korean War. He served capably for two years and was given an honorable discharge Oct. 1, 1953.
From there he applied to and was accepted to the pre-engineering program at Southern Illinois University. In the summer of 1955 he decided to transfer to Oklahoma University, in part because of the reputation of the football team at the time, coached by Bud Wilkinson.
It was there he met his future wife, Alice Melinda Pershall, in a bookstore, and with mutual friends arranged a picnic date. It was that date that would go down in family lore as Richard would often recount how Alice poured a can of beer over his head when he tried to kiss her.
The young couple continued to date, and one summer while Richard was working for LTV Corporation he bought an engagement ring for $120 in Dallas and met Alice in Snyder to ask for her hand in marriage. Alice’s father Floyd Pershall was not exactly thrilled, and insisted he never take his daughter from Oklahoma. She accepted Richard’s proposal and they were married Dec. 29, 1957, with Richard then finishing up his final semester at OU.
After graduation, despite Alice’s father’s disappointment, the young couple moved to Texas where they bought a house in Grand Prairie while Richard worked at LTV. There, daughter Melinda was born. When work slowed at LTV Richard took a job at Tinker AFB and moved back to Oklahoma, where Richard enrolled in night school at OU, earning a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. Their second child, Brian, was born there in Oklahoma City.
After graduating with his master’s degree, Richard went to work at General Dynamics in Fort Worth and the family bought a house in Irving, Texas, eventually building their own home where they lived until moving to Conroe in 2017 to be near family.
Richard enjoyed a long career as a professional, licensed engineer, completing his career at MIINC L.P. Mechanical Contractors, where he became proficient in working on the design and job estimating for heating and cooling systems.
Richard was crazy about his children and grandchildren. He taught his son many sports, coached his daughter’s softball team, and he would frequently lead the grandchildren out in the yard to hit the ball around or play some hoops. He was always there for his family, stepping in as counselor and coach, taking his grandsons on rides to the coffee shop or grocery store that included a lesson in how to be a good man. Richard valued communication with his family, and became one the 2% of fathers of Deaf children who learn sign language.
In Irving Richard and Alice were longstanding, devoted members of Plymouth Park United Methodist Church(PPUMC), where they raised their children and made many close friends over the years. They were part of a Wednesday evening Bible study whose members met together in each others’ homes weekly for over thirty-five years. Likewise, they were members of The Friendly Class at PPUMC for over forty years. Those friendships enriched their lives and created a church community that deepened their faith.
Late in life, Richard became a tireless campaign volunteer for various political candidates, campaigning door-to-door and placing many a campaign sign throughout Irving and later in his Conroe neighborhood.
Richard loved life and people and America. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather and served his community in the military, in his church, and as a professional engineer who had a hand in many of the commercial buildings visible in the Dallas skyline today. He will be greatly missed, and always remembered. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Plymouth Park United Methodist Church, 1615 W Airport Frwy, Irving, TX 75062. Memorial Services to be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, July 7, 2018 at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church, 1615 Airport Fwy, Irving, TX 75062. Military Honors by US Navy Honors Team will be presented at the conclusion of the memorial service. Then church will host a reception at the church following the service.