Navy 06

Richard Allen Darigan

January 26, 1928 ~ October 2, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old

Richard Darigan Obituary

"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

Richard Allen Darigan, son of the late Lester Henry Darigan, Sr. and the late Sarah Veronica White, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 26, 1928, and passed away on October 2, 2023, at his residence at Rio Concho Manor in San Angelo. 

In solemn tribute to his life and service, a graveside ceremony complete with military honors will be held at 11 a.m. on October 12, 2023, at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene. Arrangements are under the direction of Robert Massie Funeral Home.

Known as Richard or Dick to his family and friends, he lived a full life and, into his nineties, remained physically fit and perpetually curious about the nature of existence.

Raised during the Great Depression alongside four brothers, Richard enjoyed long days of self-described mischief with his friends in Apponaug, Rhode Island, and apple-picking at local farms. Even at 95, he vividly remembered his boyhood home, complete with dirt floors, a hand-pump kitchen sink, and a Saturday-only outdoor bath. He reminisced about soap-making, assembling a family radio, and his father selling his older brother Lester the family’s Ford Model T.

Leaving home around the age of 16, Richard moved to Daytona, FL, where he found work as a busboy at the Princess Icana Hotel. He later headed to San Francisco, CA, to join the Merchant Marines. There he honorably served at least four tours of duty rising to St. Steward Second Class, including one stint on a hospital ship in France exchanging prisoners in Germany during WWII (where he recalled spending his 17th birthday watching bombshells burst, wide-eyed from the water). 

He then honorably served two tours with the Army Transport Service as a messboy and storekeeper.  Incredibly, he next went on to honorably serve six more tours as a messman and in utility with the US Coast Guard. His work across the three branches took him to ports in South and East Africa, Portugal, and Mozambique, among others.

After WWII, a five-week union strike left him stranded and nearly starving in Baltimore. Resilient, he journeyed back to the West Coast, where he worked various jobs, including one at the State Forestry in WA, constructing fire trails, and another at American Aluminum Co., stacking aluminum.

In 1947, Richard joined the U.S. Navy in Portland, Oregon. He honorably served for 20 years, rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. His roles varied from Radio Mechanic to Academy Instructor in Advanced Electronics and Hybrid/Digital/Analog Computing at Navy Enlisted Advanced School. During his tenure, he was stationed on the US Boxer (CV-21) and USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) and at US NACTECHTRACEN, Glynco, GA, and US NATECHTRAU, NAS Olathe, Kansas. He earned multiple awards for his bravery, including the Korean Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Vietnam), National Defense Service Medal with two additional awards, and four Good Conduct Medals.

Choosing to retire at 39, Richard continued exploring, spending many years traveling in Thailand and Southeast Asia. At 48, he took up running and spent 15 winters in Acapulco, with many of those rambling along the azure waters of the beaches there. At 75, he gave up his driving license but kept traveling, often riding on the jump seat of a military aircraft and walking everywhere as often as he could. 

By 90, he had slowed somewhat but maintained a daily healthy regimen by any standard: doing 50 sit-ups and push-ups, riding a stationary bike or using an elliptical, sleeping nightly on a yoga mat (a healthy habit he said he developed during his days at sea), and walking three miles to the library. He also continued to enjoy ice cream and apple pie.

Even at 95, he described himself as addicted to thinking. He loved to read and learn about chemistry, biology, the awakening of intelligence, spiritual seekers, mystics in India, etc. In the later days of his life, he was interested in learning about Zen Buddhism (careful to note that he was not one himself). His favorite authors included: David Hume, Wolfgang Schopenhauer, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Bertrand Russell, Richard Carrier, Blaise Pascal, and Huang Po, all of whom he would quote freely while making a thought-provoking inflection or well-timed joke during conversation. 

His whole life, he lived simply but to the fullest. He was, in every aspect, an original. 

Richard was a private person. He was briefly married to the late Marion Ethel McClellan and was father to the late Carol Lee and Nora Darigan. His family included four brothers, the late: Lester H., Jr., Lawrence J., Robert W., and Donald Darigan. He will be sorely missed by his many family and friends.

Special thanks go to Luis Martinez, Troy Crosby, and the Disabled American Veterans, Col. Michael Rader Chapter 237, and Gregor Reeves of Robert Massie Funeral Home for their invaluable help in laying Richard to rest.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Richard's memory are encouraged to donate to the Disabled American Veterans (Col Michael Rader Chapter 237) PO Box 487 San Angelo, TX 76902 or the Tom Green Library System (San Angelo Branch) 33 W. Beauregard Ave, San Angelo, TX 76903.

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Graveside Service
October 12, 2023

11:00 AM
Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Abilene
7457 W Lake Road
Abilene, TX 79601


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