J.U. Ricks, 88, of Topeka, passed away peacefully at Brewster Place Rehab Wednesday, July 21, 2021.
He was born August 12, 1932 in Port Arthur, Texas the son of Joe and Mary Ricks. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and attended the University of Texas for a year before being selected to Officer Candidate School in the Air Force.
He completed Navigator training and was sent to Mather AFB, in Sacramento for advanced bombardier training where he met the love of his life, Pauline. They were married on September 17, 1954. She preceded him in death. Survivors include Cheryl L. (Gary) Lundberg of Dripping Springs, TX, Robin L. (Eric) Atwood of Topeka, Joe A. (Deana) Ricks of Austin, TX, Matt R. (Stacy) Ricks, of Topeka, and Mark A. (Peggy) Ricks, of Mason Neck, VA; 14 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters.
The consummate officer and a gentleman, J.U. completed 20 years of Air Force service retiring as a Lt Colonel in 1973. He flew 8 different aircraft and was a Command Pilot with over 240 combat missions in the C-130 in Vietnam. Pauly and J. “survived” 15 different homes during his 20 years in the Air Force. He ‘visited’ 56 countries and every continent but Antarctica. His last assignment was as the Transportation Squadron Commander at Forbes AFB. After retirement, J.U. and Pauly stayed in Topeka to give the family some roots. He was Texan by birth but Kansan by choice and his blood ran purple, sending all 5 kids to K-State. J.U., himself, completed a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He dabbled in life insurance and real estate but his true passion was flying. He continued to work as a corporate pilot into his 70s.
He was a deacon at 2nd Presbyterian and Trinity Presbyterian Church; he spent countless weekends camping with his sons in Boy Scouts; he volunteered with Let’s Help, Doorstep, and TPAC.
Above all else, he enjoyed spending time with his family. He reveled in the achievements of his kids, boring many couples with their exploits. He enjoyed reading, solitaire, crossword puzzles and watching the Wildcats, Chiefs, and Royals. He was heart-broken when Pauly passed but is surely enjoying his next dance with her in heaven.
A funeral ceremony will be held at 8:30 am on Thursday, July 29 at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 4746 SW 21st Street, Topeka, KS, 66604. A private graveside service will be held at the Kansas Veterans Cemetery, Manhattan, where he will be interned with Pauline. The family will receive friends from 5:30 – 7:00 pm, Wednesday, July 28 at Dove Cremations and Funerals, Southwest Chapel, 3700 SW Wanamaker Rd, Topeka. Memorial contributions may be made to the Combat Air Museum or Trinity Presbyterian Church.
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