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Memorials: Mountain View Friends Meeting

Dick Louden

Date of birth

Oct. 18, 1940

Date of death

Dec. 2, 2022

Meeting

Mountain View Friends Meeting

Memorial minute

Dick was born to Barbara Baker Louden and George Louden in Fairbanks, Alaska. He had one younger brother, George. He is survived by his brother, his daughter Rebecca, son Michael, daughter-in-law Diana, and grandchild Emily.

Following the early death of his father in 1944, the family relocated to California, and then to Center Square, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia, where Dick and George grew up.

Dick attended Earlham College from 1958 – 1962, where he met and married Kristin Wright. While Kris studied to become a librarian, Dick went to Bowling Green State University, and later to Indiana University, where he earned a master’s degree in Geology.

Dick worked for a variety of oil companies, in Houston, New Orleans, and, from 1974, in Lakewood, Colorado. Even as the industry collapsed during the 1980’s, he found ways to remain active and productive until he retired.

Dick was always active – physically, mentally and spiritually!

He was an avid sailor, and usually had a sailboat of some kind parked next to the driveway. He skied, both cross-country and downhill. He was a world traveler, making multiple trips to Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and the Galápagos Islands. The family purchased a cabin outside of Fairplay, Colorado, where he spent many weekends working on plumbing, wiring, and maintenance (in addition to hiking, skiing, and sledding). He was an active reader, and loved talking about whatever book he was reading at the time. He loved music, and played the recorder in groups for many years. He was something of a gym rat, regularly visiting the local recreation center to swim and exercise.

In retirement Dick found new activities to enjoy. He volunteered in local elementary schools, particularly underfunded schools. At Knapp Elementary, he taught science for many years, spending hours in planning science projects and experiments for the students, and filling gaps in the school’s curriculum. He led hikes with the Colorado Mountain Club, for both children and adults; he delighted in introducing newcomers to the Colorado outdoors. He earned a certification as a hike leader and would meticulously plan and organize hikes and snowshoe expeditions. He participated in a men’s cooking group for many years. He helped friends with ongoing geological research, often working in caves. And he was a member of Mountain View Friends Meeting for almost 50 years, serving on important committees.

Kristin died suddenly in 2019, after 56 years of their marriage. Thereafter Dick suffered increasingly from dementia. He barely and reluctantly acknowledged the disease, admitting only to slight memory lapses. He continued energetically pursuing life, “with relentless confidence,” even as the disease eroded his ability to use technology, his ability to drive, and his memory. He died in December of 2022, and was remembered by a crowd of Quakers and geologists at a memorial on 14th January 2023.

Friends talked of his outgoing nature: how he would strike up a conversation with strangers, or choose a question to ask of everyone he met on a hiking trail, eliciting the best responses from kids. He was described as truly empathetic, connecting with people not superficially but deeply. He had a great sense of humor and was a vocal and demonstrative storyteller, managing always to believe the truth (in principle, if not in detail) of the stories he told. And the importance of his prison visiting was praised.

The meeting for this geologist Friend ended with Pete Seeger’s To My Old Brown Earth:

“Guard well our human chain,

Watch well you keep it strong,

As long as sun will shine….”

Respectfully submitted,

Death and Memorials Committee