GLENDALE, Ariz. —
Richard C. Hollenbeck of Glendale, Ariz., was born on the family farm on April 5, 1938, in Conneautville. He was the youngest of five children. Richard left this world on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, to join his wife, who preceded him in death Feb. 3, 2013.
Richard is survived by a sister, Marion Van Buren, and brother, Lawrence Hollenbeck, both in Pennsylvania. He is survived in Arizona by children Lezlee, Jeffrey and Nicole; son-in-law Garth Alexander; and grandchildren Gillian and Tricia.
Richard worked hard to support his family his entire life. Life on the farm wasn’t easy — long hours plus school work to complete daily. His father died when he was only 13 years old and his mother when he was 21. He and his brother, John, maintained the farm with their mother during that time. Once his mother deceased, Richard attended Edinboro State College, putting himself through college, graduating in 1962. He was glad to have returned to Pennsylvania for his 50th high school reunion at Conneaut Valley High School.
He earned a bachelor of science in education with a major in English, minor in Spanish. He spent 30 years altogether as a Spanish teacher, retiring in 2008. He recalls he was “never on his own” during his college time thanks to his high school sweetheart’s devotion to him. Their relationship weathered separation of college life and he was married to Patricia Prest of Albion on June 25, 1961.
Richard moved his family to Arizona in 1979, packing up a wife and three young children aged 7 to 13 at the time while leaving behind a home, his own farm with 50 acres of property, and a solid teaching job at his alma mater, Conneaut Valley High School. He arrived in Arizona without a home or job waiting but dug in to make a living for his family, taking odd jobs to pay bills, and earning his real estate license to aid purchase of a home. He worked 11 years for Phoenix Newspapers Inc. as district sales manager, managing sales and delivery of two major metropolitan newspapers, supervising large teams of children and adults, before returning to teach Spanish in 1991.
In Richard’s retirement, he worked on many projects beautifying the family home. He became passionate about politics with concern for the world his grandchildren would inherit, so he became a Republican precinct and state committeeman. He volunteered in his grandchildren’s schools. He also continued to foster his love of Spanish and the value of families by becoming ordained as a minister in 2011 to officiate weddings in Spanish.
This past year without his “Patty” was difficult for Richard. He did his best to move on — maintaining family holidays as much as possible, taking cooking classes, working on projects at his home and some for his children — but he missed her terribly. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary before she became ill, and they had dated seven years before marrying. His wife and his family were his life. Everything he did was for them.
He passed quietly in his home in his sleep as any could hope to do. He now rests peacefully at his wife’s side. A visitation will be held at noon on Saturday with funeral service at 1 p.m. at Phoenix Memorial Park & Mortuary, 200 W. Beardsley Road, Phoenix, AZ. Please visit phoenixmemorialmortuary.com to leave condolences for his family.