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FLORENCE – Richard Allen VeDel, 75, passed away peacefully Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, in Missoula. His wife Betty, sister Marilyn and numerous friends were at his side. Richard was born in Ventura, California, and grew up in Whittier, California, where he graduated from California High School.

After high school, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and served aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Dexter.

He was proud to be a firefighter and paramedic for the Brea Fire Department. The bonds of friendship he established there will last longer than a lifetime. For the past 10 years, Richard and Betty have enjoyed living in Florence.

When Richard was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, Dr. Eric Stern became not only his doctor, but his friend. Those were Richard’s words. Thank you, Dr. Stern and Caren Reeves – you definitely made a difference.

Richard loved music and his favorite song was “Love for Sale” performed by Buddy Rich. He was an avid fly fisherman, a master at tying flies and making beautiful tackle boxes and picture frames.

His grandfather, Harry F.E. VeDel, was very important in his life. He asked that we all “keep him a part of the family” and think of him often. We will.

There are so many things we loved about Richard – too many to list. He felt that he had done everything that he wanted to do in his life. He didn’t waste any years. He was proud of his life. He loved his wife.

He said, “My life was an absolute joy.”

He is survived by many who loved him, including his sisters, Marcia Pine, Marilyn Wankier, Maureen Dunn and their husbands; his nephews, Jeff Wankier, and Eric and Matthew Pine; his nieces, Elizabeth Pine and Pat Wankier; his stepdaughter, Sindy Kraeger and her husband; and his great-grandkids, Abigail and Dylan.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

The family would like to extend a thank you to the Florence Fire Department for all of their help.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at whitesittfuneralhome.com.

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