On the evening of January 24, 2023, Richard K. Strother of Valencia, CA, quietly passed away at age 76.
Informal celebration of life for Rich will be Monday, March 27, 2023, 7-9 PM at Route 66 Classic Grill in Canyon Country, CA. Appetizers and beverages will be served. Come share your memories of Richard with his wife Rhoda and daughter Rachel.
In lieu of flowers and to recognize Richard Strother’s life-long learning and desire for others to learn, please donate to Griffith Observatory Foundation: (use: Obs.la/donate). This organization ensures the long-term sustainability of the iconic Griffith Observatory, furthering its mission of inspiring everyone to observe, ponder, and understand the sky. In the comments field please put Richard’s name plus Rhoda or Rachel Strother.
Born in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Richard moved a few times with his family, eventually living in Fayetteville, AR, where he attended the University of Arkansas (go Razorbacks!). He learned to write computer programs on an old, giant IBM computer, successfully completed all his chemistry courses and took several electives including accounting. He worked a variety of jobs while a student, one with a photographer who taught him ways to pose subjects and capture great shots. Another with a professor who discovered how quickly the atmosphere circles the earth.
Soon he met Janice and after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, they moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where he pursued a career at Koppers (Lehigh Hansen, now Heidelberg Materials). While in Pittsburgh, Kent and Rachel were born. At Koppers Rich worked in the labs and manufacturing areas where glue-lam adhesive resins were made (used to bond large, long slabs of wood together to make structural beams). After working there for many years, he took a job in sales and eventually moved to California to service clients on the West Coast. Janice stayed in the mid-west and their marriage was dissolved. Each summer, Kent and Rachel came to California to visit dad and they always spent time at Disneyland together.
While in California, Richard met and married Sharon A. McGovern, PhD. After leaving Koppers, he began writing computer programs as “Technology Pipeline” and his customers included NASA. When Sharon began working for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LM Aero), she encouraged Rich to apply. At LM Aero he continued to write computer programs; refined some processes, created databases to track progress of parts, and wrote programs to curing composite parts in ovens and autoclaves. He worked with a team led by Ran Hooper, and they received a patent for a new resin.
Not long after Rich retired from LM Aero, Sharon passed, leaving him lonely, missing the companionship of his wife of nearly 30 years. During the year after Sharon’s passing, Rhoda invited him to a few activities, which included Christmas eve and day; and a few days later, Rich asked Rhoda to come over and ‘talk about you/us”.
Rich continued writing computer programs and made a ‘countdown clock’ for the months, days & hours before their wedding. On their honeymoon in Monterey, Rich nearly drowned on their 5th day of marriage. Thankfully, he survived (20 days in the hospital) and God blessed them with 11+ years together.
He loved being outdoors, walking, riding his bike, or gardening; Disneyland, traveling, any type of carpentry, gadgets, trains, and of course computer programming. Rich has a full carpentry shop where he enjoyed “making sawdust out of perfectly good wood”. Soon, he bought a Numeric Controlled mill, a 3-D printer, and a laser etching machine. He loved making signs with the mill or burning sayings into wood with the laser. He made cell phone stands, flexible animals, and other fun items on his 3-D printer.
Together, Rich and Rhoda traveled, taking several tours in the US, Great Britain, and Costa Rica. They enjoyed learning about the history, geology, and archaeology of each place. Rich loved to drive up Highway 395 to Bishop and see old lava flows, earthquake faults, the Bristlecone Pine Forest, the Sierra Nevada’s, Petroglyphs, and the incredibly beauty of the area; they always enjoyed trees, especially really big ones – Sequoias and Coastal Redwoods. Once with Rachel they found an area with no lights and saw the Milky Way (WOW!). When visiting Rachel (and others – Roy, Doug, etc.) in Missouri they made time for Silver Dollar City, explored caves, visited museums, and of course shopped.
Rich always encouraged his children and supported all their endeavors. The family became “Penguins” fans in Pittsburgh. He encouraged Kent in sports (hockey), and Rachel in her desire to learn and get a degree.
2022, Rich was in the hospital 12 days; and went back about every 3 weeks or so. After each trip to the hospital (Rhoda stopped counting after 45 days), he came home weaker and eventually was not able leave his bed. In January 2023, Rachel visited Rich over a long weekend and Richard was so incredibly happy to see her (this was to be the first of several visits). The day after she flew home, Rich went to the hospital one last time, coming home Sunday, January 21st. ,
Richard is survived by his daughter (Rachel), her mom (Janice), his sister (Pati) and brother (Max & wife Susan), several nieces and nephews, and of course, his loving wife (Rhoda). He was preceded in death by his mom & dad (James & Helen), his son (Kent), and one wife (Sharon).