Richard Neil Dietzel, 71, passed away Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at his home in Washington, UT. He was born January 10, 1952 in Salt Lake City, UT to George Elmore Dietzel Jr. and Dorothy Ardell Anderson. He married Jo Ann Marie Bean on September 19, 1992 in Los Angeles, CA.
He is survived by his wife, Jo Ann; his children, John and Melissa Dietzel, Cordelia Ridley, Eric and Dawnisha Dietzel, Christa Dietzel, and Amber and Jonathan Taylor; his siblings, Karen Abell and Connie Evans; and 11 grandchildren. Preceded in death by his parents, George and Dorothy Dietzel; children, Jared Dietzel and Melissa Dietzel; and siblings, Steve Dietzel, and Diane Dietzel.
Richard Dietzel was the best of us. He lived compassionately by the golden ruler, was large in stature, and even larger in spirit and personality. My father was my hero, and the greatest man that I personally, have ever met.
Richard was devoted to his relationship with god, and showed his love through his service in the church. He served in 3 bishoprics, as a ward mission leader, Branch president on his mission in the Philippines, and the gospel doctrine teacher. Not one to shy away from a challenge, dad was surprised when he was asked, but gladly accepted a calling, while on his mission, to the relief society, specializing in mother education. He was a nursery leader, primary chorister, (and after he started dating Jo Ann, he followed her in her calling as a single adult representative), then both became nursery leaders, and then ward activities chairman (where they threw together parties like hillbilly night, valentines dances, where dad would show his love for music by performing for these events. It was during these performances, that the band NCL mudflaps was formed
Richard had many talents and passions; he played high school football, baseball, and was on the wrestling team. He was an incredible artist, and shared his love of Christ and nature through his digital art/ hand drawn art, and his sand blasted, silhouetted mirrors. But where dad really hit his stride, was with his music. Dad was in several bands through ought his life, performed musical numbers in road shows, sang in the church choir where the conductor would sometimes point to dad on a whim, to showcase the power of his voice and his love for god. Dad played the Baritone horn, the trumpet, and trombone and could shred on electric, acoustic, and Bass guitar. Jo Ann bought my father his beloved Carvin guitar for their 1st year anniversary.
Some of my most cherished memories were from Christmas Eve in Costa Mesa, Ca, when the whole family would get together and sing carols for hours. Grandma Dietzel would pass out the book of “Dietzel Family Christmas Carols”, and we’d go around the room, picking our favorite songs. There was 1 song we weren’t allowed to pick, as this song (jingle bells) was reserved as the grand finale. For this Grandma would pull out a long rope with bells spaced out, and have all the children stand up and hold the bells silent until the chorus, when they would whip into a bell ringing frenzy. If ever there was a year, where I WASN’T excited about Christmas, it would have always melted away by the end of that song. Although jingle bells was indeed the finale song that went out with a crescendo, for a lot of us this song wasn’t the highlight. There are so many beautiful Christmas songs, but hearing my dad sing ‘O holy night’, hitting the high notes of the chorus, with so much passion and power; I would get chills every single time. Christmas wasn’t always easy, as my dad worked nights, he would get off work on December 24th, drive straight up to Redlands from Costa mesa to pick up the kids, back to Costa mesa for the magical Christmas eve celebration until midnight, drive the kids back to Redlands to drop them off, commute ALL the way back to Costa mesa, stay awake for Christmas festivities, and then head up to LA for his night shift. Normally staying up for 36 hours to make all this happen. And that’s the selfless type of individual my father was, he would overextend himself for the people that he loved, and we felt loved. And when I look back at Christmas’s past, and look forward to future Christmas, I realize that Christmas is magical for us kids thanks to my father’s sacrifice and devotion.
Dad was the type of guy that would pull over if you were broke down on the side of the road. He had a great love for animals (probably stemming from HIS dad training horses and German Sheppard), and with his soft and calming presence, he would build a relationship of love, trust, and companionship.
My father loved nature, and took as camping to teach us how to appreciate the great outdoors. He fulfilled a childhood dream of his by taking his children to Yosemite National Forest to backpack for 1 week throughout the wilderness, and then relax for a week in the beautiful Yosemite Valley. Although we were on vacation in the forest, and couldn’t really attend church services, dad would still hold a sacrament service on Sunday’s for us kids, and made Sundays a day of quiet, humble, reflection along the banks of Yosemite’s Tuelomee River. On the way home from Yosemite, the truck we were driving lost all gears except for 2nd and reverse, suffice to say it was a slow trip. The trip down the winding mountain road was then made slower, by a SUPER slow discourteous driver, who had a line of 20 cars behind him, but refused to pull aside at the turnouts to let faster vehicles pass, as required by law. The slow car finally listened to the honking travelers, and pulled aside at the 12th turnout to let the line of cars pass. As my father pulls up along the side of him, he rolled down the window to ask why it took 12 turnouts before the driver showed courtesy and pulled over. “EAT ME” the driver replied. So my 6’1” 320 pound father, pulled over, walked up to the gentlemen’s window, and calmly asked “Now what is it you want me to eat.
We continued down the mountain, with the truck finally breaking down at a 7-11, requiring a tow truck and a ride home from Jo Ann. As we waited for the ride and tow, John led us in guitar as we all sang along. No complaining about the circumstances, any anger because of the broken truck. Just a loving family having a memorable ending, to an amazing vacation.
This world is better place, because of Richard Dietzel, and he will be forever loved.