Richard Neal Emerson (78) passed away on November 8th, surrounded by his family. Richard was born to John and Mary Emerson in Grand Junction, Colorado, on May 25th, 1945. His early life was spent in Bishop, California, in the mining community. He and his two brothers thrived being boys in the backwoods. His family moved back to Grand Junction when he was in second grade. He established friendships that lasted his lifetime. He started dating the love of his life, Betty Johnson, when they were 15; they married in 1965. Rich graduated from Grand Junction High School in 1963. He obtained an associate degree from Mesa Junior College, now Colorado Mesa University, and his bachelor's and master’s degrees in secondary education from the University of Northern Colorado, focusing on science and math. Rich first taught at John Evans Junior High School in Greeley, CO. He then received a Fellowship to teach in Melbourne, Australia, from 1972 though 1973. Rich returned to John Evans and taught at the University Lab School until 1988 when the family moved to Grand Junction to manage Johnson’s House of Flowers until 2017. In Greeley, he became a member of Kiwanis and led the high school Key Club. In Grand Junction, he became President of Kiwanis and then Governor of the Kiwanis Mountain district. He enjoyed serving on several boards, including the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, Hilltop, The Business Incubator, and Family Health West. He loved his church and served as Sr. Warden, Jr. Warden, and vestry for St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. Rich was also an avid CMU athletics fan. While he attended a variety sporting events, baseball and basketball were among his favorites. Rich’s fun-loving spirit was infectious. He was the light in the room, and he will be missed by many.
His parents, John and Mary Emerson, and his brother, Jack Emerson, preceded him in death. He leaves behind a large, loving family that he was so proud of, including wife, Betty; children Rick (Alisa) Emerson, Lori (Jeff) Ellis, Jeff (Kristy) Emerson, Jennifer (Jason) Quarles, and bonus daughters Angie (Michael) Diatelevi, and Kelsey (John) Stanley; grandchildren Jack, Mary, and Will Emerson, Tristen, Malli, Olivia, Izzy, Abel, and Elijah Ellis, Parker and Calvin Emerson, Chandon (Devin) and Christopher Quarles, Bryer and Rhys Stanley; great-grandchildren Kinley, Gentry, and Haven Quarles; brother Stuart (Marsha) Emerson; and a wonderful extended family of in-laws, nieces, nephews, and many cousins.
A memorial service will be held December 17th at 3:00 pm at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Grand Junction, CO. A reception at the church will follow.
Donations can be made in Rich’s Honor to:
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 3888 27 1/2 Rd, Grand Junction, CO 81506
Colorado Mesa University Foundation, CMU Baseball Program https://engage.supportingcmu.org/Rich-Emerson