Richard L. Sunde died on Tuesday, May 7, at the Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice in Wichita, Kansas. This was a peaceful conclusion to a rich and joyous life. Dick was born on September 16, 1940, in Sitka, Alaska, the son of Ole and Christine (Burke) Sunde.
In 1963, Dick married Sandra Clayton, also of Sitka. Three children were born of this marriage, Kristin, Stacey, and Rick. His second marriage, in 1979, was to Elaine (Hill) Mann; Dick and Elaine celebrated 32 years of marriage last September.
A third-generation Sitkan, Dick loved Southeast Alaska. He was a graduate of Sitka High School and a lifelong member of the Elks Club and of St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. He served an elected term on the Sitka Assembly and as president of the Sitka Chamber of Commerce. For many years, he was associated with Corroon, Black, Dawson Insurance Agency, and later owned the retail business Sunde’s Alaska Traditions.
Dick accomplished a rich “Life List” of adventures and experiences. He was a proud United States Marine, and served four years in Southeast Asia. He had countless adventures during his many years as an Alaskan bush pilot and as an officer in the Civil Air Patrol. He learned to sail, exploring Alaskan waters in his beloved sail boat, the Turtle Island. After retirement, he and Elaine bought a motor home and, for 12 years, traveled throughout the United States. During these years, Dick took up fly fishing and enjoyed some of the nation’s finest trout streams. Well after his 60th birthday, he pursued one remaining goal, taking up horseback riding in the desert country of the Southwest and finding great joy in his beautiful Palomino, Laddie.
Dick is survived by his wife Elaine, who resides in Wichita, Kansas; and by his six children: Kristin Nichols and Stacey Sunde of Seattle; Rick Sunde of La Conner, Washington; Allen Mann (Laura) of Washington, Missouri; Brian Mann (Susan) of Saranac Lake, New York; and Lisa Perkins of Wichita. He is also survived by his sisters Mary Lou Davis (Harvey) of Columbia City, Oregon, and Dorothy Parshall of Seattle; by his sister-in-law Carol Hill of Wichita; by seven grandchildren: Angie Nichols (Kristin), Sophia Sunde (Stacey), Daniel and David Mann (Allen), Nicholas Mann (Brian), and Hannah and Ella Perkins (Lisa); by his nieces and nephews; and by a host of lifelong friends who, through his illness, have shared with him their memories of basketball, Teen Age dances, and endless adventures growing up with Dick in Sitka.
The family will hold a celebration of his life at a later date. Donations in Dick’s memory are suggested to Hope in the Valley Equine Rescue and Sanctuary (www. hopeinthevalleyequinerescue.org); or to the Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice (www.hynesmemorial.org).