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Dirk Gene Richards was born May 31, 1956, in Moses Lake, Washington, the first child of Darrell Gene and Karen Green Richards. He lived in Menan, Idaho, for a time and then in Riverside, Idaho, near Blackfoot. He grew up hauling hay, flood irrigating, raising calves, and milking cows. He graduated from Snake River High School in 1974. He dreamed of being a missionary from an early age; he was called to serve in Cali, Colombia.
Dirk graduated from Idaho State University in accounting. He worked for CPA firms in Ely and Las Vegas, Nevada. Dirk met his best friend and future wife, Claudia Waite, at BYU. They were married in the LDS St. George Utah Temple in 1979. She has been a wonderful partner and they have shared many adventures together around the world for 43 years. Their greatest adventure has been their family: Rachel was born in Pocatello, Idaho; Joseph in North Miami, Florida; Elaine in Las Vegas, Nevada; Karen in Ely, Nevada; Samuel in St. George, Utah; and Timothy in Vienna, Austria. Dirk's greatest joy comes from those six children and their beautiful spouses and children.
In 1989 Dirk accepted his dream job with the Department of State and was assigned to work at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, DR Congo (formerly Zaire) as a financial specialist. That assignment was followed by tours in Austria, Nepal, Vietnam, Malaysia, Russia, and England, plus a total of seven years in Washington, D.C. Those years were characterized by exploring the art, architecture, history, beaches, and so much more; service at church and in the community; and helping children adjust to new schools and cities. A favorite activity was the two-week long Friendship Tour where the Richards family drove from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and then over to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They performed an American music program wherever they could wrangle an invitation.
Dirk retired in 2011 from work with the Federal Government, and he and Claudia moved to West Jordan, Utah. In retirement, he and Claudia served a humanitarian mission in Madagascar. Dirk was thrilled to work on poverty alleviation, something he had wanted to do during his entire career but had never had the chance. Later, Dirk and Claudia served a temple mission in Mexico. They started at the new Tijuana Temple and then were transferred to the Merida Temple. Also, they served in the Guayaquil Ecuador Temple for seven months until COVID closed the temple. Dirk and Claudia celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on the beaches of Ecuador. Finally, Dirk and Claudia helped to set up and operate the Family Transfer Center in Houston, Texas during five months of 2021. They connected migrants from the Texas/Mexico border with their families in the USA. Also, in retirement, Dirk loved to serve in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple as a worker and sealer. He was addicted to the detective work of finding, documenting, and then performing temple ordinances for ancestors. He pushed two of his family lines back a few generations as well as discovering hundreds of distant cousins. Dirk always had a couple of library books he was reading. He liked to visit art galleries with Claudia and he enjoyed his yard, where he insisted on using water-wise plants. Dirk's family brought him great joy. He thought his wife, children, and grandchildren were the very best people on planet Earth.
Dirk was diagnosed with stage 4 brain and lung cancer in early 2022 and passed away March 22, 2023. He was grateful for the time he had to ease out of this life and prepare for the next. He was preceded in death by his father and son (Samuel). He is survived by his mother, sisters (Sonya Bobka, Lorraine Knox, and Sandra (Brent) Pingel), brothers Craig Richards and Richard (Jen) Ellefson, wife, children (Rachel (Kurt) Romans of Nyssa, Oregon; Joseph (Maren) Richards of Oregon City, Oregon; Elaine Farnsworth of Parma, Idaho; Karen (Roger) McMullan of Taylorsville, Utah; and Timothy (Julie) Richards of Lexington, Kentucky) and 21 grandchildren (Austin, Emma Spencer, Ruth, Lucy, Jane, Nicole, Misha, Adelaide, Gwendolyn, Eleanor, Marigold, Lorna, Ethan, Daniel, Claire, Aurora, Dean, Wallace, Leander, and Aseneth).
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Humanitarian Fund.
Donate to the Humanitarian Fund Here
Livestream Link for Dirk's Service - https://youtube.com/live/
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
9:00 - 10:45am (Mountain time)
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Mountain time)
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