Richard Leon Piper
Mar 23, 1936 – Feb 24, 2017
VISITATION Friday, March 3rd from 6pm to 8pm at the Bel Air Chapel, 12100 W. Center Rd. SERVICES Saturday, March 4th, 11am, Bel Air Chapel. Interment, Cedardale Cemetery. Memorials to the Dreamweaver Foundation, www.thedreamweaverfoundation.org.
Richard Leon Piper was born on March 23, 1936 and went home to be with the Lord on February 24, 2017. He was preceded in death by his father, Theodore and mother, Verona. Rich is survived by his loving wife of nearly 60 years, Alice and their wonderful children: Richard (wife Marilyn), Renee Coppi (husband Steve), and Tasha Pettigrew (husband Bob). “Grandpa Butch” is also survived by “sharp” looking grandchildren: Nick Piper (wife Olivia), Aubrie Piper (husband Charlie Beckers), Luke Piper, Savannah Piper, Joshua Coppi, Justin Coppi, Josiah Coppi, Mike Pettigrew (wife Kaitlyn), and Sarah Brewer (husband Howie).
The son and grandson of an evangelist and pastor, Rich developed a passion for sharing the love of Christ through music during his childhood and a taste for performance in High School by landing a lead role in the play, “The Late Christopher Bean.” After graduation, he took those passions from Fargo, North Dakota to Evangel College in Springfield, Missouri where he sang in the choir and later joined a Gospel quartet. This gave Rich an opportunity to cultivate a lifelong love for Gospel music and a secondary career as a professional musician who traveled the Midwest performing concerts at church services and other events, often accompanied by his wife and daughters. As baritone for the Melody Kings Quartet, he once performed in front of Johnny Carson before he went on to late-night fame. Rich was a consummate professional who shared his love for the Lord through the music he so much adored. Even in his final days, he wanted to hold one last service to share his music and his love for Christ. If you visited him, he would often play Gospel music and share his faith.
On July 20, 1957 Rich married his loving wife, Alice, and the couple settled in Bellevue, Nebraska to raise a family. Rich was hard-working and chose a career in sales with the trucking industry. Throughout his long career, he was employed by Watson Brothers Trucking, Navajo Freight Lines, Barber Transportation and others.
Throughout his life, Rich was an accomplished athlete who played sports in High School and went on to compete in basketball and fast pitch softball with the Omaha church league. Many cherished memories and lifelong friendships were forged through Rich’s dedication to athletics. Among those memories are competing alongside his son, Rich. He loved sharing his passion for sports with his son and spent countless hours watching and teaching him how to play. During summer months, he would often come home from work during his lunch to sit on a stool in his business suit and catch pitches. Rich would later share his passion for sports with his grandkids, watching them compete in various events.
An avid golfer and student of the game, Rich worked diligently to improve. On August 23, 1958 he scored a hole-in-one. During the summer of 1969, with his young son as his caddie, Rich shot a career best round: a 69 at Benson Park Golf Course. In 1974, Rich won the Third Flight of the Omaha World-Herald Publinks Tournament.
Rich was a cherished husband, father and grandfather who passed along many pearls of wisdom and would be the first to come to the rescue whenever needed. He will be missed but has now been reunited with his parents and is dancing on streets of gold in Heaven. And… getting in 18-holes whenever his heart desires.