Richard Sydney Abrahamson, 79, died Monday, July 29, 2013, at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, where he lived for the past 10 years.
Richard was born Oct. 30, 1933, in Princeton, Minn., to Philip S. and Berta (Kaatiala) Abrahamson. Called "Dick" from childhood, he spent his early years near the family farm in Santiago, Minn., where he developed his love of working on the land and a special connection with animals. He had many adventures attending one-room country schools. Dick's family moved to Hastings, Neb., during World War II, where he was active in sports, the Boy Scouts and was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. He moved to Chariton, Iowa, in 1947, played football and other sports at Chariton High School, graduating in 1951.
Moving to Marshalltown in 1951, Dick attended Marshalltown Junior College where he was on the championship basketball team and was president of his sophomore class. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1953 and was stationed at bases in New York and for his last two years at Johnson Air Force Base in Japan. He was a standout guard on the base football team, which played other Air Force teams throughout the Far East. He was named a top lineman, was on an All-Star team and earned an All Air Force honorable mention. His tour of duty as Airman 1st Class ended in 1957 and he continued to serve in the Air Force Reserve until 1961.
Dick earned his bachelor's degree at Iowa State Teachers College in 1960 and went on to teach industrial arts, social studies and physical education as well as coach many teams at schools in Gates City, Ill., Bussey, Iowa, and at West Marshall, State Center, Rhodes, Clemons and Garwin. He later worked at the Donaldson Co. in Grinnell until he retired. He did horse shoeing throughout Marshall County. Horses were the love of his life and he enjoyed raising his quarter horses, showing them and riding in many area parades.
Dick spent most of his adult life in Marshalltown and was a longtime member of First United Methodist Church where he sang in the choir. He moved to the Veterans Home in May 2003, where he enjoyed many activities, especially those working with his hands in the ceramics and leather shops, and putting puzzles together in record time. The Veterans Home provided Dick another family where he was cared for and loved by many special people, including former students.
Dick leaves his brothers, Gerald Abrahamson and his wife, Judy, of Las Vegas, Nev., and James Abrahamson of Bella Vista, Ark.; his sister, Susan Vaughn Harris and her husband, Albert Harris, of Dennis, Mass.; his uncle, Bernard Abrahamson, and his wife, Arlyss, of Princeton, Minn., cousins Joel, Doug and Jude Abrahamson; 10 nieces and nephews; his good friend, Arlene Otto, and many other longtime friends. He took special care of his mother until her death in 2004. He also was predeceased by his father, his brother Lee Abrahamson and cousin Barbara Swentkofske.
The family wishes to thank the Veterans Home staff for their special care of Richard. A memorial service will be held at the Veterans Home in early September at a date to be announced. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Marshalltown.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Iowa Veterans Home, 1301 Summit St., Marshalltown, Iowa 50158. Designate for Richard Abrahamson memorial.