Retired Col. David Edward Rickert, 74, passed away Sept. 15 in Tucson. A passionate warrior, artist, writer, poet, husband and father, Dave died Sept. 15 in Tucson.
Dave was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated from Elder High School. He went on to Bowling Green State University, where he served in the ROTC and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1966. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduation. Dave married Nancy Moser in 1966 and their daughter Lori was born in 1968.
Dave served in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot for 23 years, flying F-4 and F-15 fighters, before retiring in 1989. During his distinguished career, he served three tours in Vietnam where he flew more than 430 combat missions and never lost a wingman. He held numerous positions within the service throughout the U.S. and the world, including both squadron commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron and director of operations at Keflavik Air Base in Iceland. Dave also served in the Pentagon and the State Department and earned a master’s degree in military arts and sciences.
A man with a wide range of interests, Dave was a voracious reader and writer. He had a particular appreciation of poetry and was a skilled poet himself. He loved music, photography, sports and so much more. Athletic and an avid baseball player in youth, Dave remained extremely active throughout his life, even completing two marathons after the age of 70.
In addition to being a wonderfully kind, intelligent and loving family man, a person of great strength and great humor, Dave will leave a legacy of dedication to public service. In addition to his distinguished career serving his country in the military, Dave was a long-time member of Rotary International in Virginia and Arizona, an organization for which he was very passionate and worked tirelessly. Dave had just completed a term as president of his local Rotary chapter shortly before his death. Dave also worked as both a faculty and senior leadership member of Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia for ten years, and recently, taught a critical thinking class at the University of Arizona. Teaching and mentoring others was one of Dave’s greatest passions.
Dave married Kelly Samson in 1998 and their son David was born in 1999; together they raised three beautiful children. Dave enjoyed spending time in Maine, listening to the loons, drinking black coffee, driving down dirt roads to explore the unknown, talking around the campfire pit for hours, and above all, he devoted his time to caring for and providing infinite love to his family.
In Tucson, Dave loved to watch the beautiful sunrises as he took his long morning walks. He especially appreciated the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and the Catalina mountains, the unique southwestern wildlife and constant sunshine. Always outgoing, Dave loved to spend time engaging in interesting conversations with his many friends at Anytime Fitness.
Dave is survived by wife his Kelly, children Lori and son-in-law Aaron, Alex, Scottie and David Jr., and grandchildren Will and Jonathan. He is survived by extended family members from Arizona, Ohio and Maine.
Dave will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined. He was a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Front Royal and attended the parishes of Yarmouth and Rangeley in Maine.