Richard Nelson Leamon was the first child born to Wilbur and Marguerite Leamon in Marion, Indiana on November 23, 1934. Although his father graduated from college to be a teacher, after one year of teaching, he decided to change his occupation and took a job in electronics for the Crosley Corporation in Ohio. Thus, Richard and his siblings, Carol and Charles, grew up in Deer Park, Ohio.

Richard became a Boy Scout and loved the outdoors. He often played in the woods and streams. He graduated from Deer Park High School when his father decided to take a different job at the Sandia Corporation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Richard entered the Air Force from there. Since he was raised in the peace abiding Friend’s Church, he trained to be a medic instead of going into a combatant field. He spent his four years of service in Laredo, Texas. While in the service, he began to take college courses at the local community college. After his discharge, he continued his college education at the University of New Mexico. He also became interested in Tennessee Walking Horses and oil painting.

Before finishing college, he decided to relocate to California’s Sacramento area. He took a job at Sutter General Hospital as an orderly where he met a nursing student named Sue Oldham. They married in 1963 and were married for 60 years. Sue was in her senior year of college so after she graduated, Richard started back to college. When Richard graduated from Sacramento State University and received his teaching credential, he took a job as an art teacher at Pomolita Middle School in Ukiah, California where he taught for many years. Later he obtained certification as a special education resource specialist.

Their first child, Heather, was born in Ukiah before they moved to nearby Potter Valley. Their son, Forrest, was born a couple of years later. They built a home on 15 acres where they raised fruit and berries as well as Tennessee Walking Horses. Besides teaching, Richard was involved in the Farmers Market, coaching Little League and soft ball, being art superintendent at the Ukiah Fair, showing horses, oil painting and many other activities.

Another child was added to the family when Richard & Sue adopted a 10 year old girl named Wai Yan from Hong Kong. They were able to travel to Hong Kong to bring her home in 1987.

After many years, Richard retired from teaching but took a job at a home improvement center where he worked for a few more years. When Sue retired, they decided to move to Fortuna, where Richard would be near the redwoods which he dearly loved to paint. He also became politically active in the Democratic Party. He could often be seen protesting campaign financing and advocating for health care for all. He served on the Democratic Central Committee, the Human Rights Committee of Humboldt County and the board of Humboldt State Redwoods Interpretive Association. The saddest event of his life was the death of his son Forrest in 2009.

Macular degeneration took most of his vision as he aged. He still enjoyed classical music, rides through the redwoods and eating donuts at Campton Heights Baptist Church. His close friends were Tim Ridder, Ralph Paulin and Dave Stockton. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 4, 2024 at the age of 89 years.

Richard is survived by his sister Carol Reynolds, his wife Sue, his daughters Heather Glaser (Ben) and Wai Yan, his daughter-in-law Ana, his five grandchildren: William (Antonia), Rayah, Alan, Andrew and Luke as well as three great-grandchildren Emberly, Kenzley and Kayden. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews. A memorial will be held at the Campton Heights Baptist Church, 1655 Cecil Avenue, Fortuna on Saturday, February 24 at 10 a.m.


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