Richard Levi Phares was born April 5, 1918, to Ruben and Anna Phares in Palisade, where he grew up with his three brothers on the farm. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1937. Shortly after, he met and married Wilma M. Bridgman, also from Palisade, on April 5, 1942, in Yuma, Ariz. They were blessed with two wonderful children.
After completing his basic training at Great Lakes, Ill., he served aboard the USS Louisville, the USS St. Lo, and the USS Magoffin during World War II and the Korean War. Richard was commissioned as a naval officer during World War II. During his 24 years of honorable military service, he commanded three duty stations. They were on the island of San Salvador, the naval base at Pacific Beach, Wash., and the Naval Reserve Training Center at Quincy, Ill. He was an electrician by trade.
In 1963, he retired from the U.S. Navy and the family moved from Illinois to California. There he worked for an additional eight years for Lockheed in Mountain View, Calif. In 1971, he and Wilma moved to Alsea, Ore., to fulfill his dreams of building his own house. For the next 21 yeas, they lived on the land and worked on the house they built from the ground up. This home was fondly known as the "Big House" at Stoney Point. In 1991, they moved to West Salem, Ore.
Richard was an active member of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Quarter Century Wireless Association No. 175, and a former member of the Lincoln County Amateur Radio Club. His call letters were KB7QB. Besides being a ham radio operator, which he loved, he was also an avid sportsman. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and the outdoors.
Richard is survived by his wife, Wilma; their daughter, Karen of Salem; and son, Steve and daughter-in-law, Jann of Lake Oswego. He also leaves behind four grandchildren, Morgan Phares of Vancouver, Wash., Lindsay Phares of Santa Clara, Calif, Scott Nesmith and wife, Michelle of Clackamas, Ore., and Private First Class Thomas Nesmith and wife, Debbie from Fort Drum, N.Y. There are three great-grandchildren, Mavrick, McCormick and Grace Nesmith. Richard is also survived by two brothers, Harley Phares and wife, Dessa and Philip Phares and wife, Rita, all of Palisade. One brother, Albert Phares preceded him in death. He is also survived by a large extended family and many beloved friends. He was loved by all and will be greatly missed.