Richard was born October 14, 1921 in Thompson Falls to Perry and Katherine Heater. He attended school there and loved playing football, basketball and track for the Blue Hawks. After graduation in 1940, Richard went to college at MSC in Bozeman to become an engineer. In October of 1942 he enlisted in the Navy and started boot camp at Farragut, Idaho. Richard was in the first company to graduate from there. In December of the same year he went to the University of Minnesota for electrical training school.
On a short visit back to Thompson Falls on April 2, 1943, Richard married his loving wife Doris June Larsen at the Sanders County Jail. Howard Larsen was the sheriff at the time and that was where Doris lived. A few days later they packed their bags and headed on the train to Atlantic City, New Jersey, so Richard could start his new job as an electrician and movie operator at the Navy air station. He was later assigned to the USS Saugus and they made several round trips from Pearl Harbor to the west coast with wounded and cargo.
On Nov. 26, 1945, Richard was discharged from the Navy a day after his first son, Rick was born and he then started his new job with the Montana Power Company living in Burke and Taft, Idaho and Hauser Lake near Helena, Montana. He remained with the company until the summer of 1953 and they moved back to Thompson Falls to purchase his uncle’s partnership of the Heaters Garage and Ford dealership. Later Richard and Doris bought out his father’s share and they renamed the garage Heater and Heater. They also had a bus route and took activity trips to various sporting events. In 1978 they received the full contract of the bus routes for the Thompson Falls School and closed down the Ford dealership in May of 1980.They remained in the bus business until 1994 when they decided to retire.
Richard was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed following his three children, Rick, Don and Sandy to all their sporting events. They remained loyal Blue Hawk fans after retirement and continued to follow the team around Western Montana. He loved spending some time at his daughter and son-in-law’s farm getting to drive the combine and truck during harvest. He loved working with his hands and his friends would always say that he could fix anything. Woodworking was one of his favorite pastimes and he would spend hours in his shop making furniture and clocks for his family. Spending time with his family and friends were very important to him and he loved seeing his grandchildren. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to tease his family. His favorite thing to do was find some moss off a tree and make it into a mustache. He and his wife Doris just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in April having a small gathering of family and friends.
Richard was a past commander for the VFW. He was past president for the Lions Club and served as a councilman. He was a volunteer fireman starting in 1954 and served as assistant chief for fifteen years and chief for twelve years.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Perry and Katherine (Simon); his brother, Harold; his sisters, Thelma (Ralph) Ogden and Ethel (Stan) Stanfield.
Survivors include his loving wife, Doris (Larsen); sons, Rick (Marilyn) and Donald (Maggie); daughter, Sandra (Jaron); grandsons, Ben (Maggie), Lucas (Hadley), Travis and Kyle; granddaughters, Tania and Kelsy; great-grandson, Henry; his sister, Dorothy (Gale) Allen and several nieces and nephews.
Cremation has taken place and the family plans on celebrating his wonderful life this summer. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Thompson Falls Volunteer Fire Department.