Richard Cameron Coryell

Date of Birth

August 24, 1934

Date of Death

May 24, 2017

Richard Cameron Coryell, devout fly-fisherman and avid outdoorsman, passed away peacefully on May 24, 2017 in Anderson, CA at the age of 82. Richard was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA, where he also met and married his wife of 61 years, Virginia Sawtelle. After 22 years in the military filled with globe hopping, living on various military bases across the U.S., and raising three children (David, Kathryn, and Barbara), Richard retired from the Air Force. Initially, he and Virginia settled in Roy, Utah at the foot of the Wasatch Mountain Range, but later relocated to California to spend the last two decades enjoying the quiet, rugged beauty of Mount Shasta.

Richard learned to fly-fish about as soon as he learned to walk, spending the better part of his childhood and teenage years fly-fishing, deer hunting and hiking the Santa Ynez Mountains. He played both football and baseball – the latter as pitcher for Santa Ynez High School, rode motorcycles, and joined the U.S. Forest Service Los Padres Hotshots to fight wild fires. Richard enlisted in the Navy before embarking on his Air Force career, serving in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. A master mechanic, he worked on a wide variety of tactical aircraft, eventually ending his military service at Hill AFB, Utah as a quality control inspector conducting deficiency analyses of F-16 fighter jets.

Recognized for his extraordinary talent for fly fishing, designing and tying flies, and making his own fishing rods, Richard was a highly skilled craftsman, known to construct engines, furniture, computers, bicycles, intricate model ships and more with a passion for excellence. His love of photography was evident in the darkroom he constructed while stationed in Vietnam, the vast number of cameras he collected, and the slide shows he projected on the family living room walls. He took great satisfaction in sharing his love of nature with his family, fishing, camping, and exploring the Eastern Sierras – particularly the Walker River, Lee Vining, Bridgeport and Bodie. Although he was fond of complex devices, he also loved the simple things – cold beer, gardening, watching college football, barbecuing, and eating homemade Christmas cookies. He will be greatly missed for all the unique ways he conveyed his love to his family.

Richard is survived by his wife, Virginia; son, David Coryell; daughters, Kathryn Yates (Michael) and Barbara Dickson (Kenneth), and three grandchildren, Natalie Yates, Cameron Yates, and Kyle Dickson. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Lillian, and brother, John.

Special thanks to Phil and Bobbi Sawtelle; Chris and Cassie Bell and the staff of Senior Care Assisted Living in Anderson, CA; his VA care team in Redding, CA, and Hospice of Redding. A family celebration of life will be held at a later date in Santa Barbara, CA.


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