Richard Clemens
Richard Clemens
Richard Clemens
Richard Clemens

Obituary of Richard Clemens

Richard T. "Dick" Clemens, Colonel, USAR (ret.), passed away at his home January 14, of heart failure, after a lifetime of dedication and service to country, family, and community. He was born in Boise March 23, 1918, to Rose and Richard Clemens, and spent his life there, apart from his lengthy service in the US Army during World War II, and later at the Pentagon in the 1950s. He received numerous honors, the highlight of which was the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in Normandy, awarded for actions following the landing of his Field Artillery Battalion at Utah Beach on D-Day plus 9. Growing up in the North End, after attending Lowell Elementary School, young Richard attended Boise High School, where he set a state track record in the 880-yard event. In that year, 1936, he graduated from Boise High and then worked at Finch's Stationery for several years. During high school, he had joined the 116th Horse Cavalry, Idaho National Guard. The organization was converted to the 183d Field Artillery Battalion in September 1940 and inducted into Federal service in April 1, 1941, at Fort Warren, Wyoming. By then a lieutenant, Dick invited his fiancée, beautiful Josephine Garechana, to visit him in Wyoming, where they were married at the cathedral in Cheyenne, May 12, 1941. Jo accompanied him to several postings when possible. His battalion moved from one post to another, including Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and the Camp Granite in the Mojave Desert. He was promoted to Captain in December 1942. A year later, his outfit shipped out from Massachusetts to Great Britain in a huge convoy via the North Sea and eventually was part of the Normandy Invasion. His battalion fought for eleven months straight in Normandy and across France, helped liberate Belgium, and participated in the grueling Battle of the Bulge. After V-E Day, Dick was acting mayor of a German town that requested his help fighting a marauding band of wild hogs. He returned to the US on the Queen Mary, reunited with Jo, and resumed life in Boise in 1945. After the war, Richard worked in sales at Finch's and later at Syms-York Company. He and Jo bought a home at 7th and Pueblo and were co-presidents of Longfellow School PTA. In 1953, he and the family, which now included children Jeanne, Tim, and Cathy, moved to Arlington, Virginia, where he worked in the Pentagon in the National Guard Bureau's Cold War defense operations for five years. The family made the most of living near the nation's Capital, exploring museums, enjoying concerts, and visiting historic sites, as well as traveling the Eastern seaboard and Great Lakes region. The return to Boise in 1958 brought more employment at Syms-York and later Fisher's Office Equipment. On the family front, Dick was Scoutmaster of son Tim's Boy Scout Troop 99. Active in the Army Reserve, he received the US Legion of Merit for his work as Commandant of the Boise US Army Reserve School in 1971. He retired from the Army in 1972 with thirty years of active duty equivalent time. Dick and Jo purchased Fisher's, in the Union Block on Idaho Street, in 1972, and made it flourish until its sale in 1986. Dick was a long-serving, valued member of the Capital City Development Corporation, even after retirement. After Jo's death in 2000, Dick continued to work with his RSO group of retired military, helping distribute medicines to other retired military at Gowen Field for sixteen years. He learned to play the organ and participated in weekly music classes with his Lowrey L.I.F.E friends for ten years. "Somewhere, My Love," was his song for Jo. Dick lunched every other week with his friends from high school, known as the Romeos, who were featured in an article in the Idaho Statesman in 2006. One, Frank Dunne, has been his friend since infancy. Richard pursued fitness routines that included calisthenics and three mile a day walks until he was more than 92 years old. He helped with a feeding program, drove people to appointments, and was both a Eucharistic minister and reader at Sacred Heart Church for ten years. He also found time to visit Jeanne and Cathy in Seattle and Beckett Point and made two trips to Europe, in 1994 and 2000, to revisit sites where he had fought during World War II. He accompanied Tim on Idaho and other Northwest trips, and showed amazing stamina on hikes with Tim and Jeanne at Fourth of July Lake. Dick's survivors include daughter Jeanne Clemens Peterson; son Richard T. "Tim" Clemens, Jr., and wife Bianca; and daughter Catherine Clemens and husband Daniel R. Speth. Other survivors are grandchildren Nels and Anne Peterson, Kathleen Newell, Sara Slaughter (Ben), Danica Croy (Brandon), Jason Braden, Desiree Renshaw (Ryan), and Mariska Braden. His two small great-grandsons, Landon Newell and Benny Slaughter, were his delights. In 2008, Dick was interviewed for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa. Asked what message he would like to leave for his children and grandchildren, he answered, "To be generous, kind, and honorable citizens." These attributes Richard Clemens himself possessed in abundance. The family would like to express thanks to St. Alphonsus Four Rivers Hospice personnel and other caregivers for their attentiveness and expertise in helping our father and grandfather. Their appreciation of his warmth, intelligence, and humor helped make his last months happier and more comfortable. A viewing will be at Summers Funeral Home, 1205 W. Bannock Street, Boise on Thursday, January 24, 2013 from 5-7 with vigil services commencing at 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be Friday, January 25, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 811 S. Latah, Boise with a reception following. Burial will be at Morris Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to these charities: Idaho Food Bank, PO Box 5601, Boise, Idaho 83705-0601 or Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Southwest Idaho District Council, Inc., 
Attn: Mike Gallagher, President, 3217 W. Overland Road,
Boise, ID 83705.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard Clemens, please visit Tribute Store
Share Your Memory of
Richard