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Obituary: Richard Luker

9/29/39 ~ 3/23/03

Oh, to catch the winds of flight, and to soar where eagles go <! >

Richard Allen Stinson Luker returned to our Heavenly Father on March 23, 2003 after a valiant fight with pancreatic cancer.

Richard was born in Peoria, IL to Paul and Vivian Stinson. His father died in 1940 and mother in 1946. He and his brother were adopted by Jackson and Norma Luker in 1946 and moved from Villisca, IA to Urbana, IL. Richard graduated from Culver Naval School in 1955 and Urbana High School in 1957 and from the US Naval Academy in 1962. He went directly to flight training. "Spook", his call sign, fulfilled his goals and flew 227 missions over Vietnam from USS Bonne Homme Richard and USS Ticonderoga. He was a highly decorated naval aviator, including the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. He also survived two combat ejections. He retired as a Captain, USNR in 1985. He spent 20 years as a pilot and line check pilot for Western Airlines. He also volunteered to replace a crew of a hijacked Western airplane in 1971. Richard will be remembered for his sense of humor and loyalty to his wife, family and friends. He is able to fly, golf, ski, scuba dive and play tennis once again, although we will miss his stories. The AA fellowship was a large part of his life especially during the last year.

He is survived by his wife Kerstin of Holladay; brother Tom (Kaaren) of Madison, WI; daughters Jennifer (David) Pressley of Visalia, CA; Amy Luker of Park City; Lisa Richardson of Birmingham, AL and step-daughter Michelle (DJ) Holland of Holladay. He has three grandsons and one granddaughter, of whom he was so proud and nieces and nephews he loved dearly and many loyal friends. He was preceded in death by his biological parents, adoptive parents and aunt Winnie (Dale) Robey of Shell Knob, MO.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 29, 2003 at Holladay Cottonwood Mortuary at 4670 S. Highland Drive at 2:00 p.m. Friends and family may visit the home from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Internment will be in Annapolis, MD and Gramanstorp, Sweden. Donations can be sent to The Huntsman Cancer Institute, 2000 Circle of Hope, Salt Lake City, UT 84112 in his name.