Richard was born in South San Antonio. His father was Frank Persyn and mother was Marie Verschelden, both of whom immigrated from Belgium. He was raised Catholic and went to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in south San Antonio. He attended Primary, Elementary, and High School there, graduating salutatorian of his 1944 class. A few days later he was attending class at Texas A & M in College Station.
He joined the Navy prior to age eighteen and took flight training in the Corpus Christi area. After the Navy he returned to college and graduated from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1950.
He married Elmaya West in 1952 in Wilmington, DE. He moved and worked in Williamsport, PA. His two daughters, Karen Lynn and Barbara Sue were born in Pennsylvania.
He was active in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers serving on regional and national committees. His company designed and installed steam heating plants and small electric power plants.
He moved to suburban Chicago and worked for a company who designed oil and gas refineries and chemical plants. He moved to Texas and worked for an engineering and construction company installing off-shore oil and gas platforms, papermills, electric power plants, & oil and gas pipelines. He was a registered Professional Mechanical Engineer in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Texas. His first wife, Elmaya, died in 1995.
He loved to play bridge and dance. He met his second wife Louise Paulsen Tolbert at the bridge table. They were married in March 1996. He joined the Methodist church after marrying Louise. He enjoyed being a Methodist, and especially minister Jason Adams. They danced three nights each week and played bridge two days per week. The first eight years they took two ocean cruises each year, one to the Mediterranean.
He is survived by his daughter Karen and Ken Bloodworth, daughter Barbara and Ty McLean, granddaughter Lisa and Adam Glassett and great-granddaughter Violet Glassett.
He is survived by sister Madeline Zaiontz, brother Frank and Norma Persyn, James and Ruth Persyn, Frank Persyn, sister Carol Calk and Ken Lowery, and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by stepdaughter Veva Daughtery, Ashley and Sean Stewart, Neal and Amanda Riley, stepson Hal and Janice Tolbert, John Tolbert, Rebecca Skopp, stepdaughter Susan Tolbert, Cara Panabianco and Dave Stallard, Angela Jeree and Mike Keyser.
He was preceded in death by sister Mathilda and Alvin Halty, brother, Pete Persyn, sister Rosalie and Paul Phillips and nephew Charles Halty.
Public Visitation will be held Wednesday, May 15, 2019 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Zoeller Funeral Home. The Funeral Service will be Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at Zoeller Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Guadalupe Valley Memorial Park.