In Loving Memory of Richard ‘Dick’ Maxson: 1930-2023


Richard “Dick” Maxson, age 92, passed away peacefully on Jan. 19, 2023. He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 62 years, Doris Jean (Gerardy) Maxson.

He is survived by his daughters, Nancy Maxson and Gail Kay, and Gail’s husband J.B. Kay.

Richard was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 29, 1930. He was adopted by Walter and Helen Maxson, living his early years in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota.

Following a year in the Merchant Marines, Richard served from 1951 to 1955 in the U.S. Navy as a radarman on the USS Adirondack which was the Admiralty flag ship for the Mediterranean fleet during the Korean War period. He was proud of his military service and especially enjoyed sharing memories of his time in Naples, Italy.

Dick met Doris in 1953 while he was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center when he was on a special training assignment. It was a chance meeting and is an enduring love story beginning with “love at first sight.” They were married July 30, 1955 after Richard completed his military tour.

Prior to that, Dick attended South Kent School in South Kent, Connecticut, where he pursued his life-long love of sports, playing varsity football, baseball and intramural hockey. He attended Brown University before moving to the state of Washington (to be closer to family) where he received an associate of arts degree from Skagit Valley Community College and then his bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Washington State University. He excelled in all of his studies as well as sports and was active in fraternal, social, and scholastic honorary groups such as his fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, the junior varsity wrestling team (Brown University), intramural sports, Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, and the National Scholastic Honor Society. 

He enjoyed public speaking clubs, debate team and performed as a college radio sports announcer. Throughout his college years, he received many academic accolades, including the Wall Street Journal Achievement Award and the Dr. Osterman Scholarship for further study in business administration.

Richard worked primarily as a cost accounting specialist, auditor and supervisory auditor, with special interest in business systems and procedures, production and distribution cost accounting, and business planning and analysis. 

He began work at Hanford in 1958, first with General Electric, then for the Atomic Energy Commission and later the Department of Energy. As a liaison accountant, he was responsible for compliance review of Hanford contractor financial systems.

He retired from his business career in 1985 as the chief financial officer for Kaiser Engineering (KEH) having managed finance, personnel and office services for the Richland office. One of his significant achievements was the development and implementation of a 401k deferred compensation program for the KEH employees. 

After his retirement, he continued as an accounting specialist consultant for several years.

His first priority was always his family, but he took time to enjoy golfing, camping, fishing, fly tying, leather and woodworking, as well as construction of small and large projects such as the family room addition he built onto their “F” house in Richland.

He was self-taught in all these endeavors with remarkable outcomes that resulted from his incredible attention to detail.

He adored animals, especially his cocker spaniels that were next to his side wherever he went. His gentle, loving care of his dogs is one of his family’s most fond memories.

In 1990, Richard and Doris moved from Richland to Chehalis, Washington, to live in a charming home that had a delightful view of Mount Rainier that they truly enjoyed. They moved back to the Tri-Cities in July 2016. Doris died of breast cancer in June 2017. After a stroke in 2019, Dick lived with Gail and JB in their Kennewick home.

Dick and Doris made many friends in Richland and Chehalis, often inviting company to their home and enjoying group activities like bridge club and golf groups.

Richard was a steadfast friend and mentor. He had a fun sense of humor, a wonderful smile, and a bright sparkle in his eyes. He was always reliable, seeking ways to help others in any way that he could.

His family was bound together by the love he and Doris always exemplified. He was a strong, supportive, loving and genuinely amazing husband, father and friend. His children loved him dearly and always knew they could depend on him for anything. He will be deeply missed.

Richard had a sincere and abiding commitment to the Lord. His ashes will be interred beside Doris’ during a private family ceremony at Desert Lawn Memorial Park in Kennewick.

Nancy, Gail and JB wish to extend our sincere gratitude for the outstanding care our father received from his in-home caregivers and the Tri Cities Chaplaincy Health Care Hospice services. The care he received was truly exceptional.