Richard Dykstra was born Feb. 26, 1948, at home in Sioux Center, Iowa, the son of Henry and Johanna Dykstra. He grew up in Le Mars, fondly referred to as "The Ice Cream Capital of the World." Richard graduated from Le Mars Community High School in 1966. He attended a local college, Westmar, graduating in 1970 with majors in math, physics, and chemistry. In 1971, Richard earned a master of science degree in chemistry from the University of Iowa.
He then went on to medical school while conducting research in the cardiology department. After graduating from the University of Iowa Medical School in 1976, Richard completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of San Diego.
He practiced medicine for more than 30 years in Astoria, Ore., Yukon, Okla., and Portland, Ore. Richard retired in 2008 as a physician with Northwest Kaiser Permanente in Portland.
Prior to retiring, Richard received a master of science in medical informatics from Oregon Health and Science University and pursued research work. He authored and co-authored several published papers.
In November 2009, he received the prestigious Distinguished Paper Award from the American Medical Informatics Association. His work in electronic data systems and clinical communications were a joy to him.
Richard met his life partner and best friend, Becky Jo Pullen, when he was 18. The high school sweethearts married in 1969 in Le Mars. Richard's father often said, "those two move their heads in the same bag." And -- so they did. Becky supported Richard in all of his interests and pursuits -- and felt great pride in his accomplishments.
In 1971, Richard and Becky became the proud parents of a son, Christopher Michael. In 1979, they were blessed with a daughter, Marissa Jo. Richard was a wonderful father and friend to his children and grandchild, Sophia Quin.
Richard enjoyed studying butterflies, birds and spiders with his granddaughter.
Friends and family admired Richard for his many skills and talents. He was an accomplished photographer, chef, and landscaper. He enjoyed traveling, birdwatching, and classical music. Richard loved the Pacific Ocean and was truly happiest when he was at the beach. The beach in Maui is where he died on March 19, 2010.
Richard is survived by his wife, Becky, and daughter, Marissa, both of Portland, Ore.; son, Chris, daughter-in-law, Quin, and granddaughter, Sophia of Edmond, Okla.; his sister and brother-in-law, Norma and Gene DeWit of Canby, Minn; and his sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Casey Stengel of Le Mars.
A memorial service was held March 27 at Creator Lutheran Church in Clackamas, Ore.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National Audobon Society.