Richard Okada

Obituary of Richard Francis Okada

Richard Francis Okada passed away peacefully in Santa Barbara, California on August 13, 2023. He was born at home in Ardmore, Pennsylvania on March 29, 1932, the fourth child of Itaro Okada and Erna Helen Groll Okada.


Mostly called Dick, he also went by “Okie”, “Richard,” and “Dr. Okada,” as well as “Uncle Dick” and “Uncle Okie,” over the years and across many relationships, but everyone agreed he was the sweetest, kindest man who was also very talented and accomplished. He will be dearly missed by many.


Dick was predeceased by his parents, his siblings Dorothy Okada Mueller Blanton, Robert Harry Okada, and Donald William Okada, his niece Susan Dawn Okada, and godson William Timothy Groves. He is survived by nieces and nephews Frederick Blanton, Richard Dorian Okada, Alison Okada Wollitzer, Deborah Okada Walker (James), Circe Okada Adena (Richard), Robert Randall Okada, Donna Okada Marconi (Thomas), and their children and grandchildren, as well as godson Robert Russell Groves. He is also survived by long-term friend Lucille Jean Terry, her son Michael Terry (Jennifer), and her grandchildren Michelle, Stephanie, and Christopher Terry.


Dick attended Lower Merion High School in Ardmore PA and went on to earn a BS in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University, an MS in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, an MBA from the University of Arizona, and a DBA from the University of Southern California. He was a National Institute of Public Affairs Fellow at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Administration.


After serving as First Lieutenant in the US Army Signal Corps in Fort Huachuca AZ, Dick had a 31-year career in engineering and executive management at the Naval Ship Weapons Systems Engineering Station in Port Hueneme CA. He then had a second career as instructor of management at the University of La Verne and adjunct professor and senior lecturer at the California Polytechnic State University. He was also an enrolled agent with the IRS, a Certified Financial Planner, and a California Real Estate Broker.


Dick held season tickets to USC football games for 50 years (“Fight on!”), was a life member of the Elks Club, loved to play tennis and later took daily walks, and was a regular at the poker table at the Chumash Casino. He lived a good life!


The Richard F. Okada College of Engineering Endowed Scholarship at Drexel University, established in Dick’s lifetime in appreciation for his undergraduate education, will be further funded through his estate plan. He also left a bequest to Drexel University to improve soccer facilities after playing four years of varsity soccer as an undergraduate.


A celebration of life will be held in Santa Barbara at a future date (please contact Alison if you are interested in attending:

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Richard
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at McDermott-Crockett & Associates Mortuary
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