Richard Eugene Lauderback, 87, Fort Wayne, and formerly of North Liberty, passed away while holding his daughters’ Robbie and Patty’s hands as they sang “Jesus Loves Me” Jan. 10, 2021, at Parkview Regional Medical Center, Fort Wayne.
Born in North Liberty on July 10, 1933, Richard was the son of the late Ralph Eugene and Silvia Irene (Singleton) Louderback.
After graduating from North Liberty High School in 1952, Richard joined the United States Army. A Korean War veteran, Richard was proud of his service and had a deep love of his country. During his time in the Army, Richard was a boxer and also played basketball.
After being honorably discharged and returning home from the war, Richard met and married the love of his life, Betty Jean Gemberling on Jan. 13, 1962. They were wed for fifty-eight years before Betty passed away on Sept. 1, 2020. Richard was a loving husband who worshiped his wife, and they were always seen holding hands. During their time together, Richard worked in maintenance at John Glen School Corporation and as a carpenter.
A fun-loving, ornery father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Richard had a wonderful sense of humor, was a true gentleman, and displayed great compassion, especially to those in need. Individuals blessed to know Richard spoke of his kindness and sweetness to everyone he met. He always put his family and friends before himself and had a gift for making others feel loved and appreciated. His smile could light up a room, and his laughter will forever echo in the hearts of those who knew him.
When his “grands” were around, Richard was on top of the world. He relished in teaching them about life through many stories of his Native American ways, including medical techniques that contributed to rarely being sick, which were taught to Richard by his grandmother Singleton. He also taught his family about coming from humble beginnings, how to appreciate what they have and to be happy with the little things in life.
Richard enjoyed his time outdoors, camping and mushroom hunting. He also liked his sweets, especially black cherry ice cream. When Richard found time to relax, he loved watching Indiana University and Duke basketball, playing in neighborhood softball games with his daughters on the weekends, and participating in card games and dominoes. He was also a proud 300 bowler, winning many bowling tournaments. In everything he did, Richard took time to instill the importance of teamwork and fair play while remaining highly competitive. Ultimately, his favorite activity was fishing, a sport at which he was highly skilled as a Pro-Bass fisherman. He taught his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren how to fish, and none of them ever got tired of his fishing stories.
The loving memory of Richard Eugene Lauderback will be forever cherished by his daughters; Patty (Mark) Houghton, Bronson, Mich.; Robbie Lauderback, Syracuse; Nita (Scott) King, North Liberty; and Cindy (Todd) Carroll, South Bend; sons,: Richard “Rocky” Smith, North Liberty; and Scott Smith, Calif.; sister, Alberta Huff, Plymouth; thirteen grandchildren and twenty great-grandchildren. His legacy will live on thru his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Richard was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Betty Jean Lauderback; daughter, Lisa Steinke Lowry; brothers, Alfred, Robert “Butch” and Eldon Louderback.
A celebration of Richard’s life will be held at a later date.
For those who wish to honor the memory of Richard Eugene Lauderback, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105 or Riley’s Children’s Foundation, 30 South Meridian Street, Suite 200, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202.