Richard D. Bland passed away at 2:40 p.m. Friday, July 4, 2014, after an extended battle with cancer.
Richard "RD" was born July 31, 1935, in Seneca County, the son of Jesse R. and Ethel (Flicker) Bland. Much of his youth was spent near Carey, and he moved to Ashland County in 1950.
After graduation from Polk High School in 1953, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, retiring from the Navy in December 1973 at the grade of lieutenant. During his service time, he advanced through nearly all the enlisted grades, then became a warrant officer before receiving a commission as a line officer. His sea tours included duty on the following ships: USS O'Brien DD725, USS Tortuga LSD 26, USS Yorktown VV10, USS Enterprise CVAN 65, USS Noxubee AOG 56 and USS Mount Whitney LCC20. He served as the chief engineer on the Noxubee and the Mount Whitney.
Among his service awards are two Navy Commendation medals, both with valor under combat, the Navy Achievement Medal, China Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one silver star and two bronze stars, the Vietnam Presidential Citation (Cross of Gallantry), the Navy Meritorious Unit Citation, the Combat Action Ribbon; as well as the Navy and Armed Forces Expeditionary medals.
After his Navy career, he purchased land near Red Haw, where he started a farming operation. Beef cattle and grain farming would keep him occupied until health would force retirement in 1998.
In 1956, he married Claudia Miller, and she survives after more than 58 years of loving marriage. In addition are two daughters, Col. Denise Boyer, who serves in the U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., and her husband, David; and Darlene Elson and her husband, Jim, of rural Ashland. Surviving grandchildren include two granddaughters, Danielle Shubert and her husband, Nathanial; Sara Searle and her husband, Ernest; and four grandsons, David Elson, Jesse Elson, Dylan Boyer and Richard Boyer. Also surviving are one brother, Lewis Bland, and his wife, Hisako, of Greenbrier, Arkansas, and sister-in-law, Barbara Bland of Paris, Kentucky.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his older brother, Jess Bland.
Visiting hours for family and friends will be 4-8 p.m. today, July 8, 2014, and one hour prior to the service Wednesday. The Fleet Reserve Association Branch 319 will conduct a memorial service at 8 p.m. today at the funeral home.
His memorial service will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the funeral home, conducted by Lay Minister Chuck Fritz. Interment, with military honors provided by the Ashland Veterans Honor Guard, will be at Nankin Cemetery immediately following the service.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to Nankin Federated Church, 795 SR 302, Ashland, OH 44805 or to Hospice of North Central Ohio, 1050 Dauch Drive, Ashland, OH 44805.
Denbow-Primm-Kemery Funeral Home, 313 Center St., Ashland, (419) 281-2566, is in charge of arrangements.
For those not able to attend, online expressions of sympathy or lighting a candle may be done by visiting the funeral home website at www.dpkfh.com.