Lt. Col. Richard ("Dick")'s Story
Dick Dutnell was a man of many talents. He was an artist and seriously considered pursuing higher education in that field of study. However, his patriotism, and desire to play football, led him to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was the starting center for the Naval Academy football team that beat Ole Miss 21-0 in the 1955 Sugar Bowl. He graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree and received a commission to the U. S. Air Force. He entered primary training at Moore Field in Mission, Texas and it was during this time, that he met Janey Sue Polk, from McAllen, Texas, and they were married on June 8, 1957. He was transferred to Reese AFB in Lubbock, Texas, where he earned his wings and served as an instructor pilot. After various assignments in Houston, San Antonio, and Lubbock, Texas the family moved to Norman so that Dick could complete his Master's degree in Aeronautical and Space Engineering, which he did, in 1962. By the time they left Norman for Wright Patterson AFB in Fairborn, Ohio, Dick and Janey had 3 children, Russ (born in Lubbock), Steve (born in San Antonio), and Tammy (born in Norman). In September, 1965, Dick was sent to Vietnam which he chronicled in "Puff the Spooky Dragon: A Vietnam Memoir" to memorialize his time there. For his service in Vietnam, Dick was awarded the Vietnam Service medal, the Air Medal, the Air Force Commendation medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. When he returned from Vietnam, he was stationed at Sandia AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Air Force Academy from 1968-1971 where he taught calculus and was a coach for the freshman football team. In the summer of 1971, he became the Air Force representative on a joint USAF/NASA project to put a "super-critical" wing on an F-111, and was transferred to Carswell AFB, in Ft. Worth, Texas, where the wing was built, and then to Edwards AFB, near Lancaster, California, where the wing was installed on the airframe and test flights were conducted. With his role in the project at an end, Dick needed to go to the Pentagon if he wanted to continue advancing his career in the Air Force. However, in the interest of his children, he chose to move back to Norman and spend his final years in the Air Force at Tinker AFB. Upon retirement from the Air Force, Dick worked as a Civil Engineer for Engineering Enterprises in Norman, Oklahoma for 13 years, and also for Lockheed Martin, after their move to Granbury, Texas. They enjoyed many happy years of retirement in Granbury, Oklahoma City, and Mission, Texas. Unfortunately, during the last years of Dick's life, he experienced the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's.
Lt. Col. Richard C. Dutnell was an accomplished artist, a devoted husband, a loving father (and grandfather), and a man of the utmost integrity. His impact on our lives will be treasured forever.
Dick is survived by his wife, Janey Polk Dutnell of Mission, Texas, his brother Bob (Betsy) of Weaverville, North Carolina, his children; Russ (Cheryl) of Norman, Steve (Leah), of Oklahoma City, and Tammy (Claude Murray), of Lakewood, Colorado and his grandson, Ellis Murray, of Laramie, Wyoming.
To honor his wishes, the family is planning a memorial service at the Air Force Academy. Service details are pending.
Published on April 22, 2017