Richard J. Collette, Sr.
October 14, 1917 - April 23, 2016
Richard was one of 11 children born to Alere and Lillie (Laberge) Collette in St. Elizabeth, Manitoba Canada. All have preceded Richard in death.
Richard served in the US Army during WWII. He was part of the first US Army units to fight in North Africa under General George Patton in 1942. After successfully defeating the French and German armies, his unit moved to Sicily where he was severely injured when he stepped on a land mine. He was transferred to a hospital in Algeria. When he recovered, he was again transferred to Naples, Italy where he served out the remainder of his military service.
After the war he met and married Otillia Kohler on January 30, 1946 in Salem, Oregon. They were married 59 years when Otillia (Tilly) passed away.
Together they had 5 children, Richard J. Jr. (Bonnie), Jeannie Jensen (Jim) (both deceased), Timothy, Rebecca Selander (Mike), and Molly Saling Mike.
At the time of his death he had 10 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren and another on the way.
Richard retired 36 years ago from the United States Postal Service. He always said "best job I ever had". He delivered mail in the Hayesville area. He walked 10 miles each day on his route and credited that exercise with his good health and longevity. Every weekday he would stop by the grade school and have lunch with the kids. Christmas time he would come home from work often with an armful of gifts from thankful residents of his route.
Following retirement he and Tillie enjoyed traveling, an active social life, dancing, and some golf.
Richard continued dancing as that was his favorite thing to do. He attended the Friday morning dances at the Keizer Senior Center. It was truly the highlight of his week. To him it was "very special".
Richard's last years were spent at the Brookstone Care Facility where he called all the ladies "Sunshine". And if they called him Sunshine first, he would reply "okay Moonshine". I believe he was well loved and Richard's family thanks them for their care and service to him.
A celebration of life will be held 3:30pm Thursday, May 5th at the Keizer Senior Center (930 Plymouth Dr. NE). Assisting is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.