Richard Kieding peacefully passed from this life on July 9. He was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 14, 1934. The Kieding family moved to Santa Barbara after the war was over to be near the ocean. Dick and his brother Bob, following in their father’s sea-steps, grew up at the harbor, sailing. He attended La Cumbre Jr High and SBHS. After graduation he went on a three month sailing trip to Hawaii, whetting his taste for travel. Upon return he attended UCSB, majoring in political science, where he met his future wife, Gretchen Fate. After graduation and getting his military commission they were married and began a long and happy life together for 65 years.
He first worked for Shell Oil Co. in Los Angeles, but Santa Barbara called, and they moved back in 1962 where he worked for Dean Witter, eventually becoming manager. Later he was a founding partner of Santa Barbara Securities. When he left Santa Barbara Securities he continued as an investment advisor for WCM, which was a good fit for him as research was his talent, until Alzheimer’s took control of his life.
For many years he actively served on the boards of numerous civic organizations, including Old Spanish Days, YMCA and Kiwanis. During his time as president of Kiwanis they began Work, Inc, a workshop for disabled adults. Richard was also named Santa Barbara’s young man of the year. Also at this time, their mini farm in Mission Canyon became too small, so they bought a small walnut farm in the Santa Ynez Valley. Driving their farm animals over in a VW van, they began a new life with their three children. Dick also joined Rotary, making new friends, and the board of the new Los Padres Bank, and the Diamond Walnut board, at the time a cooperative.
The family farm meant his days not in the office were spent discing, mowing and pruning the orchard, and harvest brought the whole family working together. On his bucket list was a trek to Mt. Everest, where they went in 1980. They began a parent group called Listen to educate and support parents in their struggle against alcohol and drug addiction in the schools. For ten years they had a column called Listen Post in the local paper. Also working with the SY Presbyterian church, Valley Haven, a respite day care for Alzheimer’s patients was begun.
When Dick and Gretchen turned their lives over to Jesus, life took on a new meaning. Also, Dick was a founding member of the SG Foundation, and the president after Stu Gildred passed away. They began visiting other countries for the foundation as it searched for non-government organizations around the world which needed a financial helping hand. Often they were also Christians, and a band of world wide brothers formed. Along with travel for the foundation, they traveled to learn of other peoples and cultures, as he worked on his bucket list.
The most rewarding vacations were family oriented, though, as children and grandchildren joined on trips to snow, beaches and lakes. Memories to last forever, building the family stronger. The family now continues to care for the family walnut farm, as it provides sustenance and shelter for new generations.
Richard leaves behind his wife Gretchen, children Kerry Morgantini (Rich) Jonathan, Matthew, Christopher and Kathryn, Anne Guynn (Mike) Tyler and Andrew, and Eric (Jennifer) Jordan and Emily, and six great grandchildren. Also his brother Bob and wife Joan Kieding.
The family cannot express fully their great appreciation for Friendship House and Hospice as they cared for Dick as he struggled with Alzheimer’s. He and we were well blessed. Family memorials will be private, but if you wish, donations may be made to Friendship House .
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