May 30, 1930 to Nov, 19, 2020
Richard (Dick) Foreman died at his beloved airplane hanger/ beach home in Pacific City, OR, in the early morning of Nov. 19, 2020. Dick was a resident of Green Valley for 25-plus years until 2017. He served his country as a 20-year U.S. Army Veteran and lived a life of adventures. Dick celebrated his 90-year-old birthday earlier in the year and loved his large family.
Born in 1930 in Portland, OR, Dick lived much of his early life in Gresham, OR. A bit of a rascal, he had fond early memories of daring the shortcut walk on the railroad trestles to get to school, being a youth “wartime messenger” in “blacked out” Gresham during WWII, fishing in Johnson Creek, and hitchhiking to Mt. Hood to go skiing. At age 6 he received a Charles Lindbergh “piggy bank” from the local savings and loan, inspiring his lifelong love of aviation which he pursued after joining the U.S. Army at age 16 in 1947.
After basic training and a short stint in Seattle, WA, Dick was shipped to Adak, AK, at the tip of the Aleutian Islands. After disembarking at snow-covered docks, he affirmed to an interviewing officer he took typing in high school (neglecting to say he flunked), and became a clerk typist in a nice warm office for awhile. It seems he also spent a lot of time skiing (even with the Army ski team in Anchorage), hiking, and fishing with makeshift poles and bayonets, supplying the mess hall with an abundance of trout and salmon. By end of 1948, he was assigned to the Washington, D.C. area, where he learned to fly private airplanes. That year, before he ever owned a car, he purchased his first aircraft at age 18. He proceeded quickly into Army aviation programs, flying airplanes and helicopters and performing aircraft maintenance.
Dick met Shirley Eldert in early 1950 at an airfield restaurant near Mt, Vernon, VA, and their short courtship was spent flying and at the airfield. They married that July and had four children by 1957, zigzagging across the country for Dick’s many military assignments (always with a little fishing and camping in local areas), living in about 40 different housing locations. The family fondly remembers being stationed in all parts of the country, including Hawaii for three years with beachfront living.
In his 20 years in the Army, Capt. Foreman flew helicopters from the White House and served in both Korea and Vietnam. In Korea in the early 1950s, he flew injured soldiers from M.A.S.H. facilities to the floating hospitals, and flew Marilyn Monroe around for several days for her USO performances. Back in D.C. in the late 1950s with the White House Flight Detail, he suggested that helicopters land at the White House lawn rather than transport the President to the Washington Memorial for flights out. In Vietnam in the mid-1960s, he headed up maintenance crews in the Mekong Delta area, flying above the skirmishes until he had to land in a rice paddies and rescue downed helicopters ... "a whole lot of boredom followed by sheer terror," he recalled.
Following military retirement in 1967, Dick flew helicopters for Columbia Aviation out of Portland, OR, including hauling 1,000-gallon water buckets for firefighting and laying poles and cables for ski lifts in the Pacific Northwest. He became an aviation maintenance and flight instructor at Portland Community College in the 1970s, built a house in Pacific City in the early 1970s where he fished commercially (and recreationally) aboard the “Shirley J” for decades of summers with the Dory Fleet. His second retirement was 10 years in Pacific City in the 1980s when he built the hanger (which at times has housed several airplanes and dory boats, and many family get togethers). He then "unretired" and worked in Los Angeles as an FAA inspector for regional airlines, semi-retiring to Green Valley, AZ in the early 1990s, where he leased a hanger at Ryan Airfield, Tucson, AZ, and conducted contract FAA work and private aviation business.
After Shirley passed in 2002, Dick married Donna in 2003, who passed in 2015. Dick and Shirley’s youngest, Chuck, also a pilot, died suddenly from cancer in 2017. A Pacific City “local” since 1964, Dick came “home” permanently in 2017, where he enjoyed watching aircraft activity from his deck and tinkering in his hanger. He resided in the “apartment” in the rafters, which he shared with his feline companion, Quatro. Dick enjoyed frequent visits by family and friends, and visited the beach almost daily to his end. He was happy, always commenting “what a beautiful day.”
Dick is survived by his children, Deborah Foreman (Don Hargrove), Waitsburg, WA; Richard G. Foreman, Jr. (Anne), Los Angeles, CA; Nancy Lucich (Todd), Salem, SC; grandchildren Justin Foreman, OR; Erin Grace Phillips, OR; Tammy Lucich, NC; Allie Foreman, OR; Jamie Knoebel, WI; Natalie Miller, WA; Leslie Foreman, MT; Alexander Foreman, CA; Elizabeth Foreman, CA; six great-grandchildren; and numerous in-laws, nephews and nieces and extended family throughout the USA. He is preceded in death by his wife Shirley Eldert Foreman, Alexandria, VA; 2nd wife Donna Dauner Foreman, Fargo, ND; son Charles C. Foreman, Portland, OR; grandson Tyler Lucich, West Palm Beach, FL, and his parents and siblings.
Dick was cremated and his ashes will be spread in many of the locations he enjoyed. A family Memorial Service is tentatively scheduled for Summer 2021 at Pacific City. Donations to Friends of Pacific City State Airport and Pacific City Dorymen’s Association are appreciated. The family thanks Dick’s home care and medical providers for their dedication.