Sept. 5, 1945-March 8, 2019
A memorial service for Richard T. Speer will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home of Natchitoches. The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. until service time at the funeral home. A committal service will be at a later date at Rock Island National Cemetery in Rock Island, Ill.
Richard T. Speer died Friday, March 8, 2019, at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center at the age of 74.
Richard was born in Davenport, Iowa, Sept. 5, 1945, to Merle and Andorthy Speer. He is one of 13 children.
He married Joan Surber Jan. 21, 1967. Richard and Joan raised three children, Bridget, Andrew and Matthew Speer. Richard and Joan are grandparents to Shane, Skyler Eathen, and Bryson. They are great grandparents to Emma Speer.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Merle and Andorthy Speer; his son, Andrew; brothers, Andrew and Roland; and a sister, Katherine.
Richard is a veteran of the United States Army and served during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. After being honorably discharged, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Iowa. His engineering career spanned many years and states. He began at International Harvester in the Quad-Cities (Davenport, Iowa, Bettendorf, Iowa, Moline, Ill., and Rock Island, Ill). Then in the summer of 1986, he moved his family to Abilene, Texas, to work for General Dynamics. He returned to the Midwest in June of 1995 to work for Navistar in Indianapolis, Ind. In the spring of 1998, he moved his family to Natchitoches to work for Alliance Compressor and ultimately retired from Alliance in 2016.
Richard had an avid interest in computers and owned one of the first personal computers available to the public. He loved electronics and all kinds of gadgets. In his younger days, he kept busy with projects related to home repair and improvement, landscaping and photography. He continued to have a keen interest in taking pictures throughout his entire life, as well as dedicating many hours to transferring printed pictures in digital photo media displays. During his retirement years, Richard was a frequent user on FaceBook and enjoyed reaching out to friends and family through comments and instant messenger. He will be missed by his family, friends and his media presence to so many contacts.