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Richard Uppiano, age 89, a resident of Hagerman ID, died Monday, May 14, 2018 at North Canyon Medical Center, in Gooding.
Richard was born on June 30, 1928 in Cham, Switzerland, the son of Marie and Antonio Uppiano. He attended school in his hometown, while WWII raged on around Switzerland. After the war, Richard completed his internship in precision machining and industrial engineering with Landis & Gyr in Zug, Switzerland.
Richard came to America on Nov 3 1948. He lived with his Uncle Joseph and Aunt Marguerite in Meridian ID. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen and joined the Idaho Air National Guard, and later the United States Air Force. Richard was a star member of the champion Air Force ski team.
While he was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, Richard met his future bride, Gretchen Smith at a USO dance for enlisted airmen near Redlands University, where she was attending. After her graduation, they were married May 28, 1955, and remained together until her death in 2016.
Richard and Gretchen had three children, Karl, Eric and Sonia in Woodland Hills, CA. The family moved to Thousand Oaks, CA in 1962, and finally settled in Hagerman ID in 1970.
It would be an understatement to say Richard was an automobile enthusiast all his adult life. Richard was also an avid snow and water skier. He spent many hours customizing the family ski boat, and the family spent many a memorable vacations at scenic lakes in California and Idaho.
Throughout his early career, Richard was in demand as a skilled designer and technician in aerospace instrumentation. He was Model Shop supervisor at Technology Instrument Corporation, Newbury Park, CA throughout the 1960s, during the peak of the space race. Some of the instruments he personally built are now sitting on the Moon.
When the family moved to Idaho, Richard shifted his focus to manufacturing engineering at Acme Manufacturing in Filer, ID and then on to McClure Engineering, and finally Superior Chain, in Twin Falls, ID, as friend and consultant in semi-retirement until shortly before his death.
Richard loved America and the opportunity it offered, but he was proud of his Swiss heritage, too. He made 18 trips back to the old country over the past 60 years to visit friends and family, observe milestones, and relive old memories.
Richard is preceded in death by his wife, Gretchen, and survived by his two sons, Karl of Ferndale WA, and Eric of Beaverton OR, daughter Sonia of Denver CO, brother Arnildo Uppiano of Enterprise OR, and grandchildren, Andrea, Christopher, Thomas, and Arthur, Alyssa and Amanda, Karina and Erik.
A memorial service for family and friends to share together the fond memories of Richard will be held at 2:30 pm on Sunday, Sept. 2 in the United Methodist Church 270 West Salmon Street, Hagerman, ID.
It was Richard’s wish that memorial contributions be made to North Canyon Medical Center, Gooding, ID.
To share a memory of Richard or to offer condolences to his family please visit firstname.lastname@example.org
Cremation arrangements are under the care and direction of Demaray Funeral Service - Gooding Chapel.