John Earlie “J. E.” Rikard

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(February 12, 1924 - January 22, 2014)
John Earlie “J. E.” Rikard went to be with his Lord on January 22, 2014. J. E. was born February 12, 1924, near Winnfield, Louisiana son of the late James Earlie Rikard, and his wife, the late Pearl Elizabeth Bice Rikard. Services and interment were held January 25, 2014, at Couley Methodist Church, near Winnfield. Being a child of The Depression, and from “The Greatest Generation”, he was a self-made man, larger than life, with a heart as big as the heavens. His was a life of service ... to his family, friends, church, and nation. Enlisting in the Army during World War II, J. E. served in the Pacific Theatre, being awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the Bronze Star, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. Awareness of these honors were discovered shortly before his death, as he never spoke of them, only saying when asked, that he had been “a cook”, as he had disdain for accolades or acclaim. Upon returning home, J. E. attended Le Tourneau University in Longview, Texas, and afterwards enjoyed a successful career with Shell Oil Company, retiring after 37 years of service. Mr. Rikard was also a mason for over 50 years. He was a member of Pasadena Lodge No. 1155 AF&AM in Pasadena, Texas. The following are eulogies given by nieces and nephews: There will never be another ‘Uncle J. E.’ As a little boy growing up, I always envisioned my Uncle J. E. as a ‘mountain of a man’. He was tall, strong, handsome, and had the biggest hands this kid had ever seen. As I grew older, I was amazed at all the things my uncle knew how to do. When people could not figure out how something worked, or needed something fixed, J. E. was the one who always seemed to have the answer. J. E. was a righteous, honorable man, who was all about family. I never knew J. E. to use profanity, smoke, or drink alcohol. He took loving care of his mother and father, and did much for his sisters and brothers. J. E. loved all his nieces and nephews as his own, always encouraging us, and reminding us he would always be there for us. J. E. was a special man who is dearly loved by all.” “Uncle J. E., you have always been my hero. You have been a significant part of my life for over 60 years. I saw qualities in you that most men didn’t have ... your humble nature, your strength and stamina, your work ethic, your passion for doing for and giving to others, your character and integrity, and your love and devotion to Mama and Papa, as well as all your brothers and sisters. You were always willing to give of your time and resources to anyone needing assistance. Not once did you ever ask or expect anything in return. The goodness in your heart was so overwhelming. You hear others talk about being jacks of all trades, but masters of none; well, you were not only a jack of all trades, but a master of them all. You were a welder who could build anything, an electrician, a mechanic, a plumber, and expert water skier, a square dancer, a shrewd domino player, a fun-loving prankster and kidder, a cook and roll-maker extraordinaire (Paula Dean has nothing on you), and, of course, a farmer, cattleman, horseman, timber baron, and an oilman. I have witnessed you in action in all these roles, and no one could compare to you ... there was nothing you couldn’t do. You have always been “the man” among men. Uncle J. E., you are the end of the Rikard legacy. No one is left to carry the “Rikard” name going forward. I don’t believe we can hold a candle to all you have done, but going forward in life, we are the ones who must carry the torch, and impact the lives of others, just as you did. We all need to maintain our strong love and devotion to our God, embrace and enhance the love we have for all members of our family, have loving and generous hearts, as we strive to do unto others, and to do for others, who may be less fortunate than ourselves, establish a work ethic second to none, and one that we can be proud of. Being honorable, charitable, and trustworthy ... I believe these are the virtues our generation can carry forward, and be the future we give for our Rikard family, so their legacy can continue.” “ Uncle J. E. (or “Big John”, as he was affectionately called) was not a man to quote scripture; but he knew the scriptures well, for he learned them at his mother’s knee. It was this very church that his parents brought their children to for worship and Christian instruction. In The Bible, the 25th Chapter of Matthew, Sermon on the Mount, Christ says: ‘When I was hungry, you gave me meat. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink. When I was sick, you visited me. When I was alone, you welcomed me ...’ They replied, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry, thirsty, sick or alone, and help you?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you have done this to any of these my brethren, you have done it for me.’ Though we mourn for ourselves, as we will not be able to see J. E.’s kind, handsome face again in this life, hear his big booming laugh, or shake that catcher’s mitt of a hand. We celebrate because we knew the kindest, strongest man, and shared in his joy ... his joy of helping others, and the precious memories he has left for us to cherish. He is our hero.” The end of an era for this wonderful family. We are comforted knowing there is a grand celebration in heaven, out-stretched arms welcoming him, Papa, Mama, brothers, James Wilmer, R. B., Jesse Benjamin, sisters, Ina Pearl and Thell Rowell, Dorothy Louise Lowdermilk, Izora Elizabeth and Thilo Steinschule, Earlena Evelyn and Malcolm Collins; and nephew-in-law, Robert Gay. Mr. Rikard leaves to cherish his memory, Betty Humphries, his partner for the last 13 years, and her family; Samuel Lowdermilk, brother-in-law; Dovie Rikard, sister-in-law; nieces and nephews include: John and Bobbie Rowell and family, Thelma and James Maxey and family, Dinah and Jim Givens and family, Barbara and Claude Conrad and family, Dr. David and Kathleen Lowdermilk and family, James and Dianne Lowdermilk and family, Nora and Bob Bernhardt, Deryle Harsell and family, Deborah Gay and family, Marilyn and Ron Harkins, Karen and Colvin Garrett and family; also, like a son, Kevin and Gena Hatcher and family. J. E. is dearly loved, and will be missed by all.
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