|Richard Newell Pugh, 86, died late Friday, October 29, 2004, at his home in Highland Ridge in Williamsburg, following a 3-month battle against metastatic melanoma. He died in the company of family and friends, which also included his treasured 600-volume library.
Visitation will be held 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Uhlmann-Powell Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Williamsburg. Funeral services, officiated by Pastor James Stewart, will be held 1:30 p.m. Friday at the First Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg. Following committal at Oak Hill Cemetery, a reception to celebrate Richardís life will be held at Highland Crossroads at Highland Ridge in Williamsburg.
Richard was born February 15, 1918, in the Pugh family home in Williamsburg, Iowa. He was the son of R. Elmer Pugh and Bessie Misbach Pugh, was the fourth-generation Richard Pugh, and a direct descendent of the first Welsh settlers of Iowa County.
Richard has been described as a Renaissance Man. Throughout his life he was a voracious reader and studied a variety of subjects. He was an engineer, scientist, linguist, historian, aviator, musician, motorcycle enthusiast, businessman, and public servant, but most importantly, he was a lifelong student and educator, and he was a pragmatist in all aspects of his life.
He earned a B.A. in Economics in 1941 and a B.S. in Engineering in 1943 from the State University of Iowa (now the UI). In 1949, Richard earned his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.
Richard taught at the New Mexico School of Mines in Socorro, the New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, the Montana School of Mines in Butte, and finally in the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri. He taught subjects ranging from fluid mechanics, physics, and analytical geometry to economics and accounting.
Richardís professional credits include working for Convair in Fort Worth, Texas (1943-1946), where he was a member of the developmental team of the inter-continental bomber, the B-36.
During a stint as a surveyor in Prescott, Arizona, where he and a colleague from Convair laid out sub-divisions of the rapidly growing city, Richard earned his private pilotís license.
Richard eventually returned to Iowa, and from 1955-1959, he was a member of the Collins Aeronautical Laboratory team, headed by Dr. Alexander Lippisch. The lab, created by Arthur Collins, was established to research aeronautical problems. Among its projects was the design and construction of the wingless (albeit flightless) Aerodyne, an aircraft designed to have vertical take-off-and-landing capabilities.
Richard returned to Williamsburg in 1966, where he established his private practice in civil engineering, from which he never officially retired. In addition to his design work, he specialized in accident reconstruction and was frequently an expert witness in civil and criminal cases throughout the Midwest.
Richard served as Mayor of Williamsburg from 1974-1977 and 1980-1985, served for several years on the Iowa County Board of Health and for over thirty years on the Regional Environmental Improvement Commission of Iowa County.
Although Richard remained a bachelor all his life, he was by no means childless. After his brother-in-lawís death, Richardís sister, Dorothy, and her two children, Dick and Jerilyn, moved back to Williamsburg in 1956, where they all shared life together with Richard and Dorothyís mother in the Pugh family home. Richard had a tremendous impact on the lives of his niece and nephew, continuously teaching, guiding, and inspiring them.
Richard remained active as long as his health permitted. One of his passions was history. As Williamsburg prepares to celebrate its Sesquicentennial in 2007, Richard was an active participant in the planning committee, and was frequently called upon to provide insight and information. Richard had an incredible memory and was considered a treasure trove of information and was regarded by many to be Williamsburgís time capsule in human form.
Richard was preceded in death by his father Elmer (1932), his sister Dorothy Pugh McCarty (1978), and his mother Bess (1985). He is survived by his nephew, Richard J. McCarty and his wife Sandi, of Elk Grove Village, Illinois; his niece, Jerilyn McCarty Fisher and her husband Wayne, of Iowa City, Iowa; his great-nephews Joseph McCarty of Chicago and Brendan Fisher of Milwaukee, and great-niece Courtney Fisher of Iowa City.
Richardís family is grateful for the compassionate and loving care and attention he received from the staff and his friends at Highland Ridge Presbyterian Home in Williamsburg, and from Iowa City Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that memorial donations may be made to the Williamsburg Historical Society or Iowa City Hospice.