In a fitting tribute to celebrate the life of a man dedicated to honoring others, the family of Richard Dean Hyde held a memorial at Korean Veterans Memorial Park on Friday morning.
At the service hosted by the Korean War Veterans Association Carson City Chapter 198, Hyde, who died July 15, was praised for his dedication to the memorial and his family.
Hyde's wife, JoAnn, sat at the front of the park and listened as friends told of their love for Richard.
"This place is sacred to Richard, very sacred," said the Rev. Bill McCord, a fellow veteran. "It's only fitting we have the service here."
Hyde entered the U.S. Army at the age of 16. He was a forward observer with Field Artillery 780th Battalion, attached to the 10th Core, 1st Marine Division. He left as a sergeant first class.
"He was a quiet, simple and determined man," said Kevin Burns, who met and became friends with Hyde while in the Lone Mountain Writers group.
"If you would talk about fishing and the Broncos, he would talk for hours."
Burns said Hyde joined the group to leave his memoirs for his family. Hyde found it difficult to write about Korea. He did come to grips with the Korean War and wanted other veterans to be able to do so.
"The one thing that kept him going was this park," Burns added.
"In the group, Richard became the point man to go to, to set a place for the rest of us," said Marilee Swirczek, instructor of the writers group.
"When Richard met me, he took on two teenagers, which are a bundle in themselves," said JoAnn Hyde, his wife of 22 years. "He taught my son, Gerry, how to fish and hunt. Richard had a tremendous love of fishing.
"But everything said about Richard today was very nice and very true. This is who he was."
The Korean Veterans Memorial Park was dedicated May 30 - Memorial Day. Hyde worked long and hard to see it come to fruition. Bricks, which were purchased by family members or friends of Korean War veterans, are displayed on the center path of the island. There are also four large boulders, representing the four cities of "The Nevada Complex," the last major battle fought in Korea. They are for Carson City, Reno, Elko and Las Vegas.
It took about $15,000 and donated materials to complete the park. Donations are still be accepted for brick purchases or in Hyde's memory.
"Brick dedications have just stopped," mentioned Val Jensen, Chapter 198 member. "We're still taking orders if anyone wants one."
Hyde's stepdaughter Laura Showman was 15 when Hyde entered her life, and that of her mother and brother.
"I too was stubborn, like Dick," she said. "When I turned 16, he gave me a dozen roses with a card that read, 'Happy 16th birthday, from your Mom and Dick.' It taught me then not only was he a father, but a gentleman and a good guy."
A delegation of South Koreans from the Presbyterian Church in Sparks was present. Sen. John Ensign sent a letter of condolence and honor to Hyde's family.
"I'm gonna miss him," said chapter president Fred Williams. "God bless that man."
Hyde is survived by his wife, JoAnn, of Carson City; sons Thomas and John of Oregon; stepdaughter Laura Showman and stepson Gerry Rossman of Colorado; eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
-- Contact reporter Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.
Support the park
To purchase a Korean War Veterans Memorial Brick in the Korean War Veterans Memorial Park at the end of East Fifth Street at Marsh Road, send $50 to Korean War Veterans Association, P.O. Box 20666, Carson City, 89701. For information, call 246-3767.