DELAWARE — Richard Nelson Reece, Jr., 88, of Delaware, passed away Nov. 10, 2019 at the Arbors at Delaware.
Born Nov. 3, 1931 in Marion, he was the son of the late Richard and Lucy (Gilbert) Reece. Because of his mother’s early death, he was raised from infancy by his grandparents, George and Maude (Atwood) Edwards, primarily on the family farm outside of Waldo.
On July 17, 1954, he married Janet Ball, who survives.
He is also survived by his daughters, Cheryl Reece and Susan (Jeff) Robinson, of Delaware; grandchildren Tabitha Kelley, of Richwood; Hannah Mayes and Noah (Meagan) Kelley, of Delaware; and Jonah Robinson, of Cincinnati; and great-grandchildren Lucy andCorbin Mayes, Teagan Kelley, and Madison Kelley.
Richard was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, known for his ornery sense of humor. Spending time with family was his favorite pastime. His other interests included domestic and wild animals, antique farm machinery, carpentry, guns, American war history, environmentalism, and law enforcement, the latter of which he made his career. As a young man, Richard was a farmer, a 4-H advisor, a member of the Civil Air Patrol, and a volunteer firefighter for the Waldo Fire Department, and later for the New Burlington Fire Department in Clinton County. He was a general Mr. Fix It; there was almost nothing he couldn’t repair. He also was ahead of his time when it came to recycling. His creative mind was always at work thinking up ways to reuse or upcycle items that others thought had lost their purpose.
Richard was a self-taught artist, which led to his 37-year career with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. His artistic talents brought him to the attention of then-Delaware Wildlife Area Manager Rodney Swagler, who hired him to paint signs for the wildlife area. That led to a full-time job there – in game management – in 1951. In 1960, he was named the area manager of the Spring Valley Wildlife Area in southwest Ohio. In 1963, he became the Delaware County Game Warden; then in the mid-1960s, he was promoted to wildlife agent, doing special investigations for about 13 central Ohio counties.
Throughout his career, he also taught hunter safety courses. After retiring from the Division in 1988, Richard worked for 10 years as a bailiff for the Delaware Municipal Court. He also worked as a special deputy for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office from 1953 until 1996. Many of his special-duty hours were spent at the Delaware County Fair, where he was employed for 62 years, beginning in 1952. After decades of working the fair as a special deputy, he was in charge of golf carts on the grounds from 1997 to 2014.
Richard’s family would like to thank the Arbors at Delaware and Capital City Hospice for the care they provided.
Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at the Snyder-Rodman Funeral Home, Delaware, and from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 at Old Stone Presbyterian Church, Delaware, where the funeral will follow. Burial will be in the Radnor Cemetery, followed by a meal for family and friends at the church.
In as much as Richard was a lifelong champion for abandoned animals, memorial contributions can be made to the Humane Society of Delaware County at hsdcohio.org; or to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.
Published in The Delaware Gazette from Nov. 11 to Nov. 12, 2019