Richard Dean Maddox was born on May 9, 1950, the second son of Thane and Velma (Lewis) Maddox. While he entered the world at a hospital in Wendell, Idaho, his family lived and raised him in nearby Jerome. And while the family called him “Rick” through his early years, his nickname shifted to “Rich” more recently. This was fitting, for he enriched our lives, and in response found himself rich with family connections and with friends. Rich was only a year younger than his older brother Dan, and through their school years they were constantly together (if sometimes fighting). In his high school years Rich’s most prized possession was a canary-yellow Chevrolet. The funds to purchase and paint this car came from working after school, weekends, and summers—first in a team with his brothers stacking hay, then moving water pipe through muddy sprinkler-irrigated fields.
On his graduation from high school, Rich entered the army. This was in the midst of the Vietnam War; but his brother Dan was already stationed in Vietnam, so Rich was deployed to South Korea, on the demilitarized zone. On completion of his term, Rich continued through 1974 in the Army Reserves. During this time in the reserves he trained to become a state patrolman, and served in this capacity out of American Falls, Idaho for a few years. But Rich soon found that frequent presence at fatal accidents, combined with his military experience, was not a healthy combination. He transitioned to employment at the large FMC phosphorus producing plant in Pocatello, Idaho, where he worked until his retirement.
Shortly after his return from Korea, Rich met Twila Gallagher of Grangeville, Idaho, and they were married on March 16, 1971. This marriage was blessed with the birth of a daughter, Sheila Deane Maddox on May 2, 1972. Sheila quickly became, and ever remained, one of the greatest joys in Rich’s life. In November 1976 Rich remarried, to Linnette Tubbs of Pocatello, Idaho, a union that lasted nearly twenty years.
Beyond family and friends, Rich’s other deep joy was nature. One form this took was pets, particularly Mr. T., his beloved dog. Rich also loved to be outdoors, and the machines that enabled him to explore it broadly—from jet-skis, to snowmobiles, four-wheelers, motorcycles (including a spider), a fifth-wheel trailer, etc.—and always a powerful pickup to pull them. But there was little danger of Rich embodying the motto that “the one who dies with the most toys wins,” because he typically traded in one type for another. Indeed one of his nephews, who works in the tire industry, loved to quip that he kept waiting for the first time that Rich would own a vehicle long enough to need a new set of tires!
This penchant for variety in his recreations in no way indicated a lack of concern and care for the central commitments of life. Rich was respected by his peers and frequently took on positions of leadership at work and in clubs. And when he retired, he moved back to Jerome, where he soon inherited the role of “patriarch” of the family as his parents and older brother passed away. As he gladly embraced these family responsibilities, Rich also immersed himself in the local Veteran’s group and the Senior Citizen’s center in Jerome—becoming a well recognized and respected presence.
No one respected or loved Rich more than his family, particularly (in addition to his daughter Sheila) over a dozen nieces and nephews—for most of whom Rich was their favorite uncle. For several, he was more like a father. Particularly for those who live near Jerome, family campouts of the future will be sorely bereft of his presence as beloved head of the clan!
Richard Dean Maddox was preceded in death by his parents, Thane and Velma; his older brother, Daniel Eugene Maddox; his youngest brother, Alan Ray Maddox; and his granddaughter, Melissa Sue Davis Perrigan. His death took him from Chris Allen, his loving partner, who shared his life and supported him through health challenges in recent years. Rich’s passing is also deeply mourned by his surviving family. First, of course, is his daughter Sheila (Maddox) Perrigan and her husband Michael. Then come his three remaining siblings: Randy L. Maddox and his wife Aileen, Sharon (Maddox) Rasch and her husband Ken, and Susan (Maddox) Bond and her husband Baundi. Joining these are the many nieces and nephews, with theirs spouses, children, and a growing group of grandchildren (Rich’s great-great-nieces and nephews). Since both of his parents came from large families, Rich is also grieved by three surviving aunts and uncles, and numerous cousins. And finally there are his many friends in the veterans community, the senior citizens fellowship, and beyond.