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Dr. Richard 'Dick' William Ripper

Dr. Richard "Dick" William Ripper was born in North Bend, Ore., on May 7, 1948, to Jack and Nellie Ripper. He was the youngest of three children, survived by John Ripper and Sue Harmon. Richard graduated from North Bend High School where he was an award winning swimmer.

Richard completed his doctorate at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. He paid his way through college by working as a lifeguard. During his tenure as a lifeguard, Richard received the Presidential Medal Honor Award for reviving a young child who had drowned.

In 1974, Richard and his first wife, Katie Marshall (deceased), lived in Portland, then moved to the Rogue Valley where Richard bought Columbian Eyecare of Medford, Ore. He practiced with great care and idealism, serving thousands of patients for 37 years. Richard retired in July of 2011.

On December 11, 1982, Richard married Coyote Irene Marie Hunter-Ripper at the Episcopal Church in Ashland, Ore. Marie's three children participated in the wedding vows as Richard gave each one of them matching gold bands as a symbol of his love and family unity. He shortly thereafter adopted the children, Jeff Nicholas Ripper, Jennifer Christina Ripper and Jessica Lynn Ripper. Jacob Andrew Caleb Ripper was born into the family on April 16, 1985. In 2002, Richard and Marie became proud grandparents to their first grandson, Andrew Dawson-Ripper, and in 2005, to their second grandson, Brian Dawson-Ripper. He found great love and joy, in his nieces and nephews and his great nephew, Eli Wesley Hunter.

Richard was an avid bicyclist, completing nearly two decades of Cycle Oregon. Rogue Valley Harmonizer was one of his other passions, stating, "It helped his soul" to be singing and sharing with others. In Ashland, he served on the YMCA board, was manager of Little League Baseball teams, committee member of the high school snowboard team and a soccer team supporter for his children. The Greenway Bicycle Foundation was a major endeavor for many years and he was pleased to see the expansion of this project. He played recreational softball with the Optical Illusion team for over 25 years and loved to ski and snowboard. Camping, hiking, river rafting and traveling were all family events he enjoyed doing with his wife, children and friends. He and his wife Marie traveled to Europe October, 2009, on one of his long sought after adventures and "greatest times" he ever had.

Richard was passionate about life, kind-hearted and giving. He was fun and liked sharing jokes, remaining positive through all circumstances. Many have said "he was the nicest person I have ever known.

All who knew Richard or his family are invited to attend his memorial service, held Saturday, November 5, 2011, at noon, followed by a reception at the First United Methodist Church, 175 N. Main, Ashland, OR.

Arrangements have been made through Rogue Valley Funeral Alternatives, Medford, Oregon.