Obituary: Richard B. “Dick” Sheridan
US Marine Colonel, great-grandfather, volunteer, man of faith
Richard B. “Dick” Sheridan died on the Fourth of July as the bands were parading down Harrison Avenue past Claremont Manor, where he had lived for the past seven years. He was 90.
Mr. Sheridan was born June 12, 1927 in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Mahlon and Esther Brown Sheridan, one of three children. He was an Eagle Scout when he graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1944, finishing early in order to enlist in the United States Marine Corps in January, 1945.
The young Mr. Sheridan graduated from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in June, 1950. He was with the Fifth Marines in Korea when he was seriously wounded in battle in March, 1953. A deep shrapnel gash in his neck required he be evacuated by helicopter directly to the Danish Hospital ship Jutlandia in Inchon Harbor. The Danish film Jutlandia: 999 Days of Service in the Korean War, released in 2013, features an account of Lt. Sheridan’s long recovery there, where he was attended to by dedicated Danish nurses.
Returning to duty after the truce he served as liaison to the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade in Korea. He transitioned to the Marine Corps Reserve in 1956, and retired in 1976 having earned the rank of Colonel.
Envisioning a transportation future aided by monorail (a vision that proved illusory), he went from active duty Marine service to UCLA, in Westwood, California, where he earned a master’s degree in engineering in 1961.
Post graduation, he developed mass transit alternatives as a transportation planning engineer in traffic-plagued US cities such as Washington D.C., Houston, Los Angeles and Denver, as well as in Britain and Saudi Arabia.
From 1972 to 1978 in the District of Columbia, he supervised long-range transportation planning studies for the Washington Council of Governments, laying the basis for its multi-state Metro system. While in Washington, Mr. Sheridan married Alicia Wallis Young in Arlington, Virginia, in 1974.
In Los Angeles from 1983 to 1986, he worked as a consultant with architectural/engineering firm DMJM, helping with the implementation of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Red Line.
Throughout his working life and especially after retirement he was a diligent and caring volunteer, with special concern for aiding the homeless and hungry. In Houston in the early 1980s he befriended and aided families who had come from the rust belt seeking work but, with the oil boom going bust, could find no jobs and were subsequently left homeless. When he relocated to Los Angeles in 1983, he carried forward this concern, spending one night a month at Pasadena’s Union Station Homeless Services.
While living in Denver, Colorado, Mr. Sheridan headed the homeless subcommittee at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, helping families begin a new life. He was also on the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, getting up at night to help families who were victims of fires get into temporary housing.
After retirement he volunteered to help manage Family Star, an inner city early childhood and parenting education center aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty.
After moving to Claremont in 1996 he connected with the Beta Center of the Inland Valley Hope Center, interviewing hungry people every week in order to help them qualify for donated food. Later, and as long as he was able, he served twice per week as a tutor with CLASP (Claremont After School Programs, Inc.) at Claremont Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Sheridan was a proud United States Marine who often took part in ceremonies and parades. He was also a bagpiper, playing in Scottish and Irish bands from Alexandria, Virginia to Los Angeles and points in between. Dick loved parades, his family shared.
A man of abiding faith, deepened in his years at the Naval Academy and even during his war experience, he never missed a Sunday at the Presbyterian Church he joined wherever he lived. He attended adult education classes, taught youth Sunday school in addition to worship, and often served as elder or deacon.
Confined to bed rest as a result of complications from Parkinson’s disease, his passing, like his care during the last months of his life, was made easier by hospice and Manor caregivers, Mr. Sheridan’s family shared. Throughout his illness he was characteristically kind, good-humored and uncomplaining, they added.
Mr. Sheridan is survived by his wife Alicia (Wallis); brother Tom of Lexington, Massachusetts; daughters Kristina Sheridan (Bob Stroh) of San Diego, California, Elizabeth (Laurent) Vanneste of St. Petersburg, Florida, Victoria (John) Hart of Powell, Ohio and Kathleen Sheridan (Archibald Fenton) of Cummington, Massachusetts; step-daughters, Hilary (Joel)Williams of Ft. Mohave, Arizona, Margaret (Reg) Green of La Cañada, California and Isabel Maisano of Claremont; 16 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 19 at Claremont Presbyterian Church, 1111 N. Mountain Ave., Claremont.
Memorial donations may be made to Inland Valley Hope Partners at inlandvalleyhopepartners.org, Union Station Homeless Services, Pasadena at unionstationhs.org, or to Claremont Presbyterian Church at claremontpres.org.