Richard Miller McQueen passed away on January 22, 2020, at the age of 85. He died on his own terms: at home, surrounded by the family he loved and always kept as his priority.
Richard was born in Salt Lake City in 1934 to Mary Priscilla Miller and William Lawrence McQueen; he was the youngest of two boys. The family moved to Wendover, Nevada and then Greenville, Utah during WWII before settling in Richland, Washington where Richard’s dad helped build the city and nearby power plant.
While in high school, Richard met the love of his life, Marilyn Watkins. After their freshman year at BYU, they married in 1955 and transferred to the University of Washington where Richard earned his BS degree. He started teaching Jr. High science classes in Seattle. While there, Richard and Marilyn welcomed three children: Janice, Grant, and Mary. In 1964, Richard returned to school and earned a Master’s degree at Oregon State University.
Upon graduation, the family of five moved to Concord, California, where they put down deep roots as Richard dedicated all of his energy into building his career, church, and particularly his family. While in Concord, Richard and Marilyn had two more sons, David James, who died in infancy, and Gary.
Richard taught chemistry and math at Pacifica, Clayton Valley, and then Northgate high schools. Despite the topics, Mr. McQueen was a popular and beloved teacher, probably because he was more laser-focused on the students than the class subjects. Although technically excellent and rigorously demanding, Mr. McQueen’s classes were best characterized by humorous stories, positive encouragement, and individual attention.
Richard’s optimism and love of people was rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. He loved and lived the Gospel of James. He held many formal church callings including service missions along with Marilyn for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Oakland Cambodian Branch and the Springville Cannery. However, he was most effective in his informal roles as a mentor and friend. He was a reliable administrator known for his quiet efficiency, but he was a world-class minister. Many were touched by his example, kindness, guidance, and support. Richard changed lives.
Richard was a loving husband. He and Marilyn enjoyed traveling and both cultural and sporting events. Richard remained close to his parents, brother Bill, and Bill’s family. Most summers included a trip back to Washington for family adventures and to show love and stay connected. Richard was a dedicated father who taught by example. He and Marilyn often traveled hundreds of miles to see a grandchild or great-grandchild play in sports. Richard particularly loved these trips if, while there, he could help paint a room or lay some tile. He was grandfather not only to his own posterity, but also to any who came to know him.
Maybe to test out his new pacemaker, or maybe to thumb his nose at prostate cancer, Richard became an avid biker. In 1997, he joined a group trip that followed the Mormon Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah (1,589 miles). On the trip, he developed close friends who subsequently went on bicycle trips every summer. In 2001, he peddled from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida (2,397 miles) and then in 2004 rode from Anacortes, Washington to Plum Island, Maine (3,458 miles) with his troupe. Even a few months ago, Richard could be seen every day, head down, peddling through the streets of Mapleton.
Richard is survived by his wife Marilyn, daughter Janice (Daniel), and sons Grant (JoLene) and Gary (Ondra) in addition to a son-in-law, Dave, a sister-in-law, Carol, plus 20 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren if you count the two on the way. He was preceded in death by a son, David James, a daughter, Mary, and his brother, William.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 1st, 2020 at the Mapleton, Utah “Red” Church located at 1215 N. 1000 W. A visitation for friends and family will be held Friday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and before the Saturday service from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m., both at the Mapleton Red Church. Burial will be in the Mapleton Cemetery located at 620 W Maple St., Mapleton.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to help fight cancer at https://www.5forthefight.org/
For more information about Richard’s life, please visit https://www.wheelermortuaries.com/
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