Richard Cortez Day was born July 19, 1927 in Covington, Kentucky. The eldest child of C.F. Day and Queen Day, he was raised in Jackson, Michigan. He attended Jackson Community College and then the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he earned a B.S. in Mathematics and a Masters in English Literature. He served in the Navy on the USS Edmonds, a destroyer escort based in Hawaii. After leaving the Navy he attended the University of Iowa, earning a PhD with a creative dissertation.

A love of the Pacific Ocean drew him to Arcata, where he moved in 1959 with his wife, Bonnie Louise Schwinnen, to teach at Humboldt State. He remained a beloved teacher, even after his retirement. His thinking, his teaching, and his writing were all deeply informed by jobs he held early in his life, which included harvesting strawberries and onions, assembly line work (building tires), and by his time in the Navy. He published numerous short stories and two collections, When in Florence (1985) and Something for the Journey (2005). He was a friend and mentor to many writers, including Raymond Carver.

A lifelong athlete, in junior college he played for the NJCAA men’s basketball championship. He played second base for the locally renowned Amazing Rossinis softball team, coached the Lady Rossinis, and was an avid runner. With his second wife, Janyce Neiman, he traveled extensively in Italy. Together, they cultivated an animating love of Italian food, music, culture, and art.

Richard lived to be 90 years old and passed away peacefully, at home, on January 4, 2018. He is survived by Janyce, and by his three children: Cort Day of Philadelphia, Alexa Day of Trinidad and Elizabeth Day of San Francisco. He also leaves three younger brothers: Wayne, Kenneth and Edward. He was pre-deceased by one sister, Jan.

The family wishes to thank all of Richard’s many friends for their love and support and extends special thanks to Mad River Home Health for their exceptional care. Those wishing to make donations are urged to contribute to the charity of their choice, in Richard’s memory.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Richard Cortez Day’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.