Richard M. Cavanaugh, Jr. died April 5, 2018, at the age of 95 surrounded by family who loved him dearly. An adventurer. A gardener. An avid reader. A trivia expert. A dedicated husband and father. Richard, one of five brothers, was born September 9, 1922, in Okmulgee, OK, to Richard and Sarah Arnold Cavanaugh.
His family later moved to Norman, OK, where he attended St. Joseph's Catholic School and met his future wife, Anneita Tullius.
During World War II, Richard served as a medic with the 127th Infantry. He received a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in the Philippines, a Bronze Star, and the Combat Medical badge for his service in the Leyte and Luzon Campaigns. He was a member of the occupying forces in Japan when the war ended.
He married Anneita in August 1949 and attended Central State College where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. He later attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a Master's Degree in Education. He taught at Blanchard High School, Pleasant Hill Elementary, and Tinker Elementary. He was known for awarding "Smiling A's" to his students who excelled.
Richard and Anneita's marriage flourished for 58 years until her death in 2008. Their devotion to each other was equaled only by their love for their four daughters: Linda, Sarah, Susan, and Carol.
Together, they provided the blueprint for raising a family filled with love and understanding.
As a family, they spent summers camping in national parks as they traveled throughout the United States. Richard chronicled their journeys and life events with 16,000 feet of 8 mm film. Anneita filled more than 40 albums with photographs, all marked with names and dates. They never missed an event that involved their daughtersfrom sports to recitals to school activities.
A strong supporter of Bishop McGuinness High School, Richard was among the volunteers who built the football stadium at the school. He held a lifetime pass to McGuinness sporting eventsa pass he continued to use into his 90s.
Richard and Anneita were founding members of Greystone DayBreak, a group of volunteers who provided a weekly respite for caregivers.
Richard, known for his trademark cowboy hat and boots, is survived by his daughters and their husbands: Linda and Will Clark, Sarah and Rick Ashford, Susan and Curt Boecking, Carol and Steve Goetzinger.
Richard turned his backyard into a playground for his grandchildren. It was there that he taught them how to shoot a bow and arrow, how to walk on the stilts he built for them, and how to zoom down their own personal zip line. Grandchildren are Paul Clark, Ann Clark, Eric Ashford, and wife Meredith, Erin Ashford, Emily Boecking, Lori Torbert and husband Clark, Katherine Boecking, John Goetzinger, Elizabeth Goetzinger, and Kate Goetzinger.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, April 14 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 1901 NW 18th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73106. Interment will follow at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery, Oklahoma City. Memorial donations may be made to St. Francis Capital Campaign.
Published on April 9, 2018