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Gross Funeral Home

120 Wrights ST, Hot Springs, AR

OBITUARY

Mr. Richard Humphreys

June 1, 1942June 4, 2019

Richard Howell Humphreys was born June 1, 1942, in Hot Springs, Arkansas; and he was raised on Shady Hills Drive just down the road from Humphreys Dairy. His father Davidson Coleman Humphreys built the house on Shady Hills for his wife Olivia Rhea Humphreys and their two boys Davidson Herbert and Richard. Although he traveled extensively, Richard lived most of his life on the land his father and mother left him, and he passed away just down the road in the house he built himself on Davidson Drive. Popa as he was affectionately known, passed away peacefully on June 4, 2019, in the early afternoon after several weeks of home hospice care. While bedridden during the last few months of his life, he communed to the sounds of nature outside his bedroom window and the view of wildlife enjoying his pond. A hard-working, active outdoorsman he wasn’t one to be comfortable being bound to one position in one place, but he still felt so blessed to be able to visit with life-long friends who came to call on him at the farm. Many traveled long distances to see him and be in his company one last time. Even those of us who live far away from Davidson Drive felt close to home when he gave his wildlife reports.

The most important things in the world to Richard were his family, his friends, his food, and his faith. When he could combine them all, he was his happiest. Anyone who ate with Richard knows the power of his prayer at meal time. His prayers of gratitude for the bounty we were about to partake of and his beseeching safe passage for loved ones were inspiring. He never failed to shower the cook with praise as he twinkled with delight consuming his favorite meal.

Richard passed away with his first child Mary Jewell holding his hand. He was loved and tenderly cared for by cherished members of his family with constant care being provided by Debbie, Jeff & Tommy Byers over the last six months of his life. Additionally, Richard’s family extends deepest gratitude to Kindred Hospice of Hot Springs for their palliative expertise, support and compassion. Richard’s father Davidson Coleman Humphreys, mother Olivia Rhea Dishroon Humphreys, brother Davidson Herbert Humphreys, son Leon Richard Humphreys, sister-in-law Nancy Jo Miller Humphreys, grandparents Harris Humphreys & Mary Belle Davidson Humphreys and Herbert & Sallie Howell Dishroon, and in-laws Leon Richard Miller & Leta Mae Hood Miller preceded him in death. Richard is survived by his wife and high school sweetheart Suzanne Miller Humphreys and his two daughters Mary Jewell Humphreys Parker (Joe Parker, Dallas, Texas) and Kathy Suzanne Humphreys (Wes Yanaga, Berkeley, California) and four grandchildren Hannah Lucille Gill (Washington, DC), John Miller Gill (Austin, Texas), Rachel Suzanne Gill (Dallas, Texas) and Rebecca Jewell Gill (Dallas, Texas) and sister-in-law Janie Lee Miller Dahl (Gary Dahl, Hot Springs). He, loved, cared for and provided wisdom and support for his brother’s children Joy Anna Humphreys Jones (Tim Jones, Hot Springs) their children Luke Coleman Jones, Fenton Mack Jones & Olivia Mae Jones and Jonathan Abraham Humphreys (Brandie Humphreys, Hot Springs), Liam & Gracie Humphreys, Matthew Humphreys, and Dryden & Hunter Henthorn.

His huge heart embraced and held very important loved ones. His extended nuclear family for whom he was father, grandfather and uncle: Debbie & Jeff Byers and their children Aaron Balentine (Elizabeth), Carli Byers Isadore (Willie), Tommy Byers, Hanna Byers, Victoria Byers, LaTonya Byers, & Allison Byers and their grandchildren Connor Leverette and Maleni Solis. Linda Schalow Humphreys, Jimmy (Susie) Schalow, Suzanne Schalow (Kate), and Justin Schalow (Jennifer) and their children Nadia and Caiden. Christine Fillman, ShaunaMarie, Lexy & Kain. Christian Hansen (Camilla), Josefine, Tulle Hansen. Linda & Grant Forster and their children Kelly Hiebert (Clint), Tiffany Banow (Ryan & Flora), Zachary Forster (Amanda), Cassidy Miskiman (Ryan), Wendy Smith (Chris & Jacob). Burt & Rita Neufeld and their children & grandchildren. Marion, Murray (Roberta), Steven, Ken (Rae) McMullen and their six grandchildren. Linda, Lyle and Joel Waddell. Rene & Elaine Litke, Corene Litke and Chris Levangle Lindsay, Mike, Paige & Teigan Nice.

The entire Humphreys clan of cousins who have shown a lifetime of loyalty, love and care for Richard and his family. O’ the blessings of being raised a Humphreys in Hot Springs which continues to sustain an extended family of cousins where Welsh Rarebit “Rabbit” is still consumed and the proud memory of Humphreys Dairy--where the best milk still grows in our hearts--endures.

Richard was a unique, kind, generous, stubborn, witty, mischievous, intelligent and loyal southern gentleman. He valued his independence and freedom. He loved the enormous American Flag flying near Exit 7 on the Bypass and it made him proud to be an American. That the note he wrote thanking the company for flying the flag was posted on the employee bulletin board was a special recognition to him and he recounted the story often.

Richard attended both Lakeside and Hot Springs High Schools. He graduated from HSHS in 1960. He and Suzanne have remained close with many of their former classmates. The first Saturday of the month they’ve joined the “Lunch Bunch” for laughs and companionship for many years. They’ve attended every class reunion and deeply love their treasured friends.

Richard attended Ouachita Baptist University and transferred to Southern State University where he graduated in 1963 with a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry. Following graduation, he was recruited by Keller and Marion Breland to train under them at Animal Behavior Enterprises where he worked until the mid-80s. Throughout his life he stayed involved with Humphreys’ Dairy and served as Board President for several years.

Richard’s life and livelihood always involved animals and farming. He did his best to keep a garden until the end of his life. His love of watermelon, tomatoes, onions and okra are legend. He also raised cattle and trained a wide arrange of wild animals for Animal Behavior Enterprises, IQ Zoo, Animal Wonderland and his own company Richards Racers. He spent most of his life in Hot Springs, but he also lived in California and Key West, Florida, working with the Navy conducting research and training into the use of marine animals for defense and intelligence.

His work was often pioneering and in support of security as well as entertainment. He spent over twenty years of his summers in Canada with Richards Racers. His show featuring racing ducks and pigs was so endearing, his personality so warm and interesting, he made friends everywhere he traveled. When he retired he was awarded the medal of honor for his years of service to the Calgary Stampede, which touched him deeply. Over the many years following retirement, he maintained his friendships by remaining a constant friend, providing love and support, laughter, warmth, cheer and wisdom. Richard’s love for sports and the outdoors along with his respect for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission were very real guideposts during his life. Richard lost his father at five years old. His grandfathers, uncles and community members (including a Game Warden) stepped in to guide and shape an active mind and personality. One of his favorite stories was of his Uncle Gene loading his boys Harris Gene, Paul, Jimmy and Tommy along with Davidson and Richard into the back of his pickup and driving from Hot Springs to St. Louis to see a Cardinals baseball game.

The women in his life were equally important to his development, particularly influencing his deep appreciation for trades and higher-education. His single mother earned a living as a teacher and taught him the value of a dollar and frugality along with faithfulness to God and family. His great aunt and grandparents took in orphaned cousins and saw that all three girls and their daughter Rhea received college degrees--paying for it by investing into and running a boarding house. What a good man he was and how proud those who helped rear him must be. The next generations need to learn the love of the land, respect for nature and importance of education. Read to the children in your life, pay for music lessons, get a fishing license and take a kid with you. You will honor his memory and respect for licensed hunting and fishing not to mention make a memory and difference in a child’s life—something Richard always tried to do.

A memorial honoring the life of Richard H. Humphreys will be held from 4pm to 7pm on July 2nd at 320 Yorkshire Drive, Hot Springs, Arkansas for friends and family. We hope you will share your memories and regards as we celebrate his life.

His family remembers him as a man of extraordinary heart and generosity. A man who always made sure you felt special and loved.

We miss you Popa and remember what you taught us. You will live on in our hearts forever—love you the most.

Services

2 July

Memorial Service

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Memories

Mr. Richard Humphreys

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Elizabeth Washburn

June 11, 2019

He was always so happy and cheerful!! Always interested in hearing about what I was doing!
I will miss him!!! A wonderful man!! Loved his family!!!❤️

Buddy Brooks

June 10, 2019

So sorry to hear of Richard's passing. We were childhood friends and I really enjoyed playing with him when he'd come to work with his Grandpaw at FUMC and I lived next door. As we grew older, we fished and hunted together for some years. He was a neat guy and good friend for many years, until I moved away to work. Our prayers of comfort, peace and strength during this time are covering the loved ones left behind. Buddy Brooks

Pam Campbell

June 9, 2019

Richard was such a sweet and kind man. He was always so sweet to comment with beautiful words when I would post pictures of my family on FB, especially pictures of Kassy. He loved having my mom come fish in his pond and catch her favorite kind of fish---catfish and even insisted on us( my mom, sister and brother-in-law--Judy and Buddy (Eddie) Fisher and myself stay for lunch. When I think of Richard, I immediately think of his politeness and what a gentleman he was. I am truly saddened to hear of his passing.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of his family. Rest in peace Richard. <3

Donna Bartell

June 9, 2019

Richard will be missed by many classmates . Suzanne and family, I am so sorry. I grew up in Hot Springs with Richard ,Davidson and Rhea and all were very special people. Fondly, Donna Groom Bartell

Lisa Thurman Lapenna

June 9, 2019

What a beautiful tribute to who I called Uncle! As an Humphreys cousin- we called everyone Aunt and Uncle no matter if you were 3rd cousins twice removed! My memory is going to his house every morning so Suzanne could take Ritchie and me to pre school and always wanting to talk to him about Animal Wonderland. He had amazing stories that taught me about animals I never would have learned about and was always generous with his time showing me around with a VIP tour.
What a wonderful life and a blessed family to all have each other! 🙏🏻❤️

Dean Brooks

June 9, 2019

So sorry for your loss. I was blessed to have Richard cross my life 's journey as a youngster and young man.Spent many weekends camping and fishing with him on Lake Ouachita growing up. And later working with him with Animal Behavior Enterprise. What a truly special individual he was.


FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY