Richard "Dick" French
July 10, 1920 - June 23, 2016
Dick was born July 10, 1920 to Clyde and Alice Judson French at a Yakima Valley potato farm on a “busy, hot Saturday afternoon”, the 7th of 8 children. He grew up in Salem, attended Salem schools and graduated from Willamette University in sociology and psychology and subsequently earned his Master’s degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Utah. During WWII, Dick spent 4 years in Civilian Public Service in mental institutions in Washington and New Jersey working with developmentally disabled and epileptic patients,
He taught school for 4 years prior to serving as Personnel Director for 35 years, first at Eastern Oregon State Hospital at Pendleton, Oregon for 5 years and then until retirement at Oregon State Hospital in Salem. He was a long time member and past officer of the Public Personnel Association. He was an active member since 1961 of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, serving as board chair, treasurer, business operations manager and in numerous other capacities. After retirement he served for many years as a docent for the Mission Mill Museum Association.
He married Betty Brock in 1944. In 1977 he married Marjorie Bowden. During their marriage they traveled to Europe, Central America and Japan. After retirement, he and Marge traveled extensively in the Southwest in their 5th wheel.
Dick was sometimes known as “Mr. Fix It” because he was often busy being a handy man for church, friends and family. His artistic and creative interests included painting, carving, woodworking and music. Dick’s sense of humor and his sharp wit will be missed by his family and friends. He was a man of integrity, thoughtful of others and kind to all, always respectful and a gentleman He valued his family and cherished his roles as dad and husband.
Dick is survived by Marge, his wife of 39 years, and 4 sons by first wife Betty; Clark Catherine of Portland, Roger Melissa of Nyack, New York, Jerry Linda of Portland, Brian Shellye of Salem; daughters Sharon Saldavia Phil of California, Suzy Brown David of California; grandchildren Justin, David, Jessalyn, Lucy, Sarah, Heidi, Denise, Kimberly, Robert, Sheila, Sarah, Chris, Doug, Makenzie, Parker; sister Frances Cooper of Eugene; sister Margaret Owen of Coquille; also many nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, 5090 Center St. on July 17 at 2:00 pm.