He was preceded in death by his father, U.S.A.F. Capt. Gordon Richard Brown of Morgan City, who was one of the first American fatalities in Vietnam.
He is survived by his mother Joan, and his stepfather Col. (Ret.) Ronald E. “Gene” Gardner of Seffner, Fla.
Being in a military family, Richard lived in many states but spent most of his life in California, Michigan and Florida. He was in junior varsity golf while attending high school in Rudyard, Mich., where he also enjoyed snow skiing. He graduated from Riverside Polytechnic High School, Riverside, Calif., in 1970 and he received his Associate in Arts degree in 1972 from Riverside City College. During this time, some of his college art class paintings were chosen to be displayed in the local library, and he became a certified scuba diver.
During his freshman year, while attending Long Beach State, Richard lettered in eight-man crew as coxswain. He was employed by Riverside County Hospital as an operating room sterile supply technician working nights while attending college day classes. He graduated in 1985 from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona with a B.S. degree in business administration with a major in computer information systems. After moving to Florida, Richard worked in the management information systems division of the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s Office, where he served for 22 years.
All of his life, Richard had a keen interest in military history and aircraft. He enjoyed the hobby of building models of military aircraft and won several awards for his talent, including a national award for a B-52H model in 1968. He belonged to a Riverside modeling club, participated in contests and served as a judge in many regional modeler contests. He had his airplane and rocket models on display in a local hobby shop, and he contributed to articles in a modeler magazine.
Additionally, in 1998 he authored a book titled “SEALION” on submarines of the United States Navy, listed by hull number, which was specially prepared for and published by Downtown Model Company of Riverside, Calif. He was also an avid fan of ice hockey and enjoyed going to the Tampa Bay Lightning games with his dad. His favorite player was Brad Richards.
Richard will be greatly missed by his loving family and friends. Plans for a private family memorial service and burial are still pending. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Richard to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612.