Obituary of Richard Marion Mari
Richard Marion Mari, 90, Meridian, Idaho, passed away at home on May 26, 2023, surrounded by his family after a long-fought battle with Parkinson’s.
Dick, as many know him, was a magnificent man, whose life journey started in Springfield, Illinois on February 21, 1933. Born into an Italian immigrant family, Richard was the first born of three children to Angelo Mari and Igina Perna Mari. As a young boy Richard was very industrious, working at the neighborhood delicatessen, delivering newspapers, ushering weekends at the movie theater, and assisting his father with his masonry business. As President of his high school class, Honor Society member and Drum Major for his school marching band, Richard continued to excel.
Music was a special passion of his and as a drummer he formed a jazz band, the “Blue Notes,” who played many venues in the central and southern regions of the country, opening for and jamming with the likes of Duke Ellington, Harry James and many others.
The U.S. Army summoned and swept Richard away from his music. He served proudly at Fort Knox, Kentucky in the armament battalion, 54th Infantry, as a wheel and tractor vehicle mechanic. An additional 7 years in the Army National Guard’s 108th Ordnance Company completed his military duty.
On December 2,1955, Richard married Jacqueline Jane Hill and they began their life together in Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Richard was blessed with 5 children, three daughters and two sons. He was a great father and very dedicated to his family.
Richard’s experience as a young man in the Tool and Die industry gained him employment with Capitol City Tool and Design. It was there in the early 1960’s that Richard put his mark on helping usher in modern technology. A few of the more major projects included the Bunn-o-Matic, the first automatic coffee maker, an automatic automobile blinker system that turns itself off, a rear license plate lighted design, Christmas tree lights that were replaceable and do not get hot, the nose cone shield system for the first Mercury Space Rocket, and very early microwave designs.
While Richard worked in Tool and Design in the daytime, he was building homes by himself at night, with Jacqueline as his chief painter. They would live in the house for a short time, sell it and then build a new house, completing the process three times. He was a 1962 house “flipper”.
Looking for a new challenge, and while trying to satisfy his love of the mountain west, fishing and bird hunting, Richard and his wife Jacqueline entered the world of business ownership. They relocated to Twin Falls, Idaho where they purchased the Monterey Motor Inn; three years later they moved to Rolla, Missouri and purchased the Rolla Motel; and finally, they returned to Idaho and purchased the Pocatello Travelodge in Pocatello, Idaho. While owning motels provided a lifetime of strange and funny stories, Richard found a calling to the insurance industry.
Initially working for John S. Squires and Associates, Pocatello, Idaho and later for Mutual of Omaha Corporate, Spokane, Washington, Richard found the challenge of insurance sales invigorating and the opportunity to mentor new agents fulfilling. Earning his Certified Life Underwriter designation while remaining among the top sales agents in the country for Mutual of Omaha, Richard was rewarded with many wonderful company trips throughout the world and was ultimately promoted to Regional Sales Manager of the Northwest Region.
When Richard finally retired, he moved to Twin Falls and ultimately Boise, Idaho. Upon retirement Richard was given a paint set as a gift from his daughter Deborah in hopes of rekindling the passion he left behind in his youth. That opened the door to the world of painting again and his first picture won a blue ribbon at the Twin Falls County Fair in addition to being kicked out of the amateur level competition in the future.
Richard loved golf and spent enough time on the course that he was offered the position of Course Marshall at Shadow Valley Golf Course. One of his favorite memories was golfing at St. Andrews in Scotland, the thought of that always resulted in a big smile.
For Richard it was his deep and abiding faith that centered him and provided direction in all he did. He loved studying the Bible and more than that, he loved sharing what he learned. He amassed quite a collection of bibles and study books and his thirst for more knowledge was unquenchable. In his final days we had many discussions about heaven, and he looked forward to the day he would join the Lord.
Richard is survived by his wife Jacqueline, his daughters Pamela Mari (Paul), Woodland, CA, Deborah Bonuccelli (David), Sacramento, CA, Kimberly Ross (Alan), Meridian, ID, his sons Mark Mari (Melanie), Evanston, WY and Richard Mari II, Springfield, IL, 11 Grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren. Richard was preceded in death by his parents and sisters.
A viewing will be held at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 11655 W. McMillian Road, Boise, ID on Tuesday June 6, 2023, at 12:00 pm, with the Service following at 1:00 pm. Burial will follow the service at Dry Creek Cemetery, 9600 W. Hill Road, Boise, ID 83714.
The family would like to give special thanks to Horizon Home Health and Hospice for their constant care and guidance through this difficult time.
Donations in Richard’s memory can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station, PO Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777
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