Richard “Rick” Harley Gaustad, age 72, of Red Wing, formerly of Cokato, died unexpectedly Sunday, June 17, 2018, at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis.
A memorial service will take place Saturday, June 23 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Red Wing, with military honors to follow the service. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery at a later date.
There will be visitation Friday, June 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel, in Red Wing; continuing Saturday at the church, one hour prior to the service.
Memorials preferred to Wounded Warrior Project or Red Wing Public Schools Foundation. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com
Richard was born Dec. 27, 1945, in Cokato, to Harley and Vernette (Johnson) Gaustad, and graduated from Cokato High School in 1964.
He went on to attend Concordia College in Moorhead, and enlisted in the US Army. Richard served in the 4th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War in Pleiku from 1967-68, and was moved to military command headquarters in Germany, until he was honorably discharged.
He returned to Concordia College, where he met his wife, Susan, in an ancient history class. They were married Dec. 26, 1973, in Madison. The couple lived in Forest Lake, where they both taught for two years.
Richard was hired by the Red Wing Public School District in 1975, where he taught US history and AP psychology, and was a favorite teacher of many students. Throughout his teaching, he was a mentor first, connecting with the students and building relationships; and a teacher second.
He also coached boys’ and girls’ track and field for many years, something he always enjoyed.
In 2004, he retired from teaching, but not from his love of people and making connections. Rick loved Red Wing and could always find someone to talk to while he was out in the community.
He was a man of humor, often making jokes. In seriousness, Rick was an advocate for other veterans that needed help from war- and service-connected consequences. He was an avid follower of politics and current affairs.
A huge University of Minnesota Gophers fan, Rick was a season ticket holder for men’s basketball.
He was a past member of the Dawn Breakers Kiwanis, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Red Wing.
Most of all, Rick enjoyed a good bowl of vanilla ice cream, and it was even better if he could enjoy it with his family, especially his daughters and grandchildren.
Richard will be dearly missed by his wife, Susan, of Red Wing; his beloved children, Elisabeth (Bruce) Blazing of Byron, and Kirsten (Tom) Davis of Prescott, AZ; and grandchildren Mika, Caden, Luke, Mara and Brynn.
He is further survived by two sisters, Anna Maria Motzko, and Karn Rounds, both of Sun Lakes, AZ; brother-in-law Jim Motzko of Sun Lakes, AZ; and nieces and nephews, Sarah Seldon, Nathan Motzko, Taylee Donohue, Nick Rounds, Kelsey Putman Hughes, Tristan Putman and Sara Holloway.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother-in-law, Matthew Rounds.