A Tribute to Dick Hyde, Longtime OLLI Member and Facilitator

This week we learned of the passing of Dick Hyde, a longtime member of OLLI as well as a facilitator of many great courses on wars.  As we approach Veteran’s Day, we must also acknowledge the contributions Dick made at OLLI to provide an event each year to share the stories of the OLLI members who have served.  Though we were unable to gather this year and keep Dick’s tradition alive, we have two tributes from individuals who knew him well.  The first is from Leonard Adreon, OLLI member and facilitator.  Former OLLI Director Katie Compton also added a special tribute to honor Dick and his contributions to the OLLI community.  Please see below for these moving tributes.

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Dick Hyde, an important past contributor to the programs of OLLI.  Dick facilitated popular courses on wars fought by the United States.  His featured classes were on World War II and the Korean War. In addition, he initiated an annual veteran’s celebration where veteran members of OLLI spoke of their military experience and discussed the true meaning of Veterans Day. 

A few years ago, Dick moved to Georgia, but he never forgot us and travelled back to St. Louis to continue our veteran’s day programs. Dick was an exceptional individual; He graduated from Cornell University and subsequently earned a law degree at the University of Michigan. He practiced law in San Francisco followed by a 30-year career with United Airlines in Chicago. After retirement he moved to St. Louis in 1996 where he served Lifelong Learning until his move to Georgia in 2013. 

He had a passion for aviation and was an active member of the Commemorative Air Force, where he dedicated his time to preserving World War II aircrafts. He enjoyed rides on B-25s and other vintage aircrafts.

Dick is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughters Christine and Nicole, and two grandsons Andrew and Ryan Cox. Many members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will fondly remember Dick Hyde.

A personal note:  I first knew Dick when he asked me to participate in his Korean War Class. He knew that I was a combat veteran of that war. The class was interested in first-hand knowledge of that war and asked me to participate on multiple occasions. Consequently, we became good friends over many years.  He was indeed a dedicated, kind, and interesting man who has left a positive mark on all who knew him.   When Dan Ellis and I decided to do a class on the Korean War, Dick offered to come to St. Louis and share the research that he had done 5 years before for his class.  I did not accept his offer whereupon he sent me information from his class to uses as we saw fit.  That says a lot about what kind of guy he was. 

–Leonard Adreon

When I received the news that Dick Hyde had died in Atlanta it made me very sad. I was not expecting it and the news came as a surprise. We had emailed back and forth in September when the events in Afghanistan were going on and he had written a letter to the editor. The paper eventually published it and he was very pleased.

Dick grew up in Edina, MN. He was a kid during WWII but his young uncle, whom he idolized, served. He was the president of his senior class and went to Cornell and then law school. He was a Big Time lawyer in San Francisco and Chicago, before moving to St. Louis to semi-retire. He had a lifelong passion for the history of WWII and for flying, and during the 10 years I knew him as a student and facilitator at OLLI, he led over 20 classes on the war, a continuing saga covering every battle and engagement fought. His WWII classes were very popular.

He was one of my “captains,” someone I could always count on to step up when needed. When he moved to Georgia, he left a big hole at OLLI. We stayed in touch and he continued to send me a cake every year on my birthday and to take pictures of Mike Matheny for me when he went to Cardinals’ spring training games every spring. At first he would come to visit and he’d take me out to lunch and we would gab away for hours.

But he grew old, this knight so bold, and o’er his heart a shadow, fell as he found…that growing old was really hard. For this former marathon runner, who would drop everything and drive his uncle across country if he needed company, it was indeed hard. He managed to go to his 65th high school reunion in Edina in June this year but it was very difficult physically. It was, he told me, a very emotional experience for him, but he was glad he did it. I like to think of him at the pearly gates, met by Ernie Pyle and Jimmy Stewart (of whom people always told him he reminded them) and maybe James Howell Howard. Into paradise may the angels lead thee, Dick, and at thy coming may the martyrs receive thee, and bring thee into the holy city Jerusalem.

—Katie Compton