|Richard G. Lyttle, 79|
|Written by TRF Times|
Meeker, Colo. - Former Thief River Falls resident Richard G. Lyttle, 79, died suddenly on Sunday, October 10, 2004 at Pioneer’s Hospital in Meeker, Colo.
Funeral services were held on Thursday, October 14 at St. James’ Episcopal Church, with Randall Cochran officiating. Interment was held at the Highland Cemetery in Meeker, Colo. Masonic rites were conducted by Rio Blanco Lodge 80, AF&AM.
Richard Gibson Lyttle, Jr. was born December 22, 1924 in Laramie, Wyo. the son of Richard Gibson and Jessie Margaret (Gillis) Lyttle. Rich attended school in Meeker, having graduated with Rio Blanco County High School in 1942. Rich attended college at the University of Colorado, receiving a B.A. degree in Journalism in 1949. He went on to further his education with a master of arts degree in social sciences from Bemidji State University in Bemidji.
On June 18, 1950 Rich was united in marriage to Mary Beth “Becky” Latson at the Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs, Colo. From 1933 until leaving Meeker in 1962, Rich helped operate the family newspaper, The Meeker Herald. In 1962, he left Meeker to teach school in Nome, Alaska. He later left Nome to begin teaching at Northland Community College in Thief River Falls. Rich retired from teaching in 1988 and returned to Meeker where he became active in numerous community affairs.
Rich served on the Meeker Town Council, on the vestry of St. James’ Church, on the board of the Rio Blanco County Historical Society and was an active member of the Meeker Lion’s Club. He was a 40-year member of the Masonic Lodge, having been initiated and raised while living in Nome. At the time of his death he held dual lodge memberships in Thief River Falls and in Rio Blanco Lodge 80, AF&AM.
He loved and was considered by many to be the preeminent expert of Meeker history, so much of the history having been documented by his father and grandfather. Rich wrote a column titled “Roping the Past” in the Rio Blanco Herald Times and also wrote a column on the history of St. James’ Church for the church newsletter. He taught a course in Meeker history at Colorado Northwestern Community College and also assisted in literacy education in Meeker. He was an active member of St. James’ Church where he routinely assisted in teaching the Wednesday children’s chapel. For many years he was a leader in the Explorer Scout program, using his vast knowledge and love of the outdoors to work with young scouts.
Rich was a voracious and unapologetic C.U. Buffalo fan, he remained true to Minnesota and was a die hard Minnesota Vikings and Twins fan. He will long be remembered for the many years he portrayed Nathan Meeker in the Meeker Massacre Pageant, aptly donning a t-shirt that quipped “I Survived The Meeker Massacre.” Rich had a great sense of humor and a steadfast sense of honor, trust and dignity.
Survivors include Becky, his loving wife of 54 years; one son Bill Lyttle and his wife Annette of Colorado Springs, Colo.; two sisters, Betty Oldland and Margo Coons, both of Meeker, Colo.; two nieces, Janice Oldland and Kathy Thornsby and two nephews; Alan Oldland and Robert Oldland.
Rich’s parents and one nephew, Don Coons preceded him in death.