Duane Richins, 89, passed away peacefully at his home on October 29, 2022, in Mesa, Arizona, to the comforting voice of his sweetheart holding his hand, recounting early memories of their love story. The chimes of his clocks and the comfort of home gave him peace to return to his eternal home where family and friends welcome him.
The youngest of 4 siblings, his homecoming includes his father, Wellington B. Richins; mother, Edith Winifred Richins; sisters and brothers-in-law, Cleone Magnusson (Bernard), Evelyn Herbert (George), Irma Harris (Russell); and many dear friends and family.
Duane is survived by Belva Camille Cox, his wife of 64 years; his 8 children, Lisa Jones (Gary), LuAnn Pulver (Craig), Don Richins (Laura Jo), Steve Richins (Tina), Mike Richins, Kristen Birch (Doug), Shelley Nevin (Todd), Kevin Richins (Andi); 28 grandchildren, and 31 great grandchildren.
Duane and Camille married on April 10th, 1958, for time and eternity in the Mesa Arizona Temple, and began their family the next year while he was finishing his undergraduate degree from ASU. By the spring of 1961, he had completed his Master’s Degree just weeks after their third child was born. Together with his sweet wife, they brought their 3 little ones to his graduation.
Duane’s career in education was continually focused on helping youth. He taught 8th grade for the first 4 years, but then spent the rest of his career in guidance counseling. The highlight of his career was the 3 years he spent living with his family in Tonga working for the Church Education System. The family’s time in Tonga was a cherished memory throughout his life.
Duane always wanted to have acreage for a small farm and room for the kids to roam, so he was thrilled to make that dream come true on two acres of land in Lehi. He built his home on that property with the help of friends and family. He learned the skills he needed by going out to observe tradesmen working on new construction homes for Farnsworth Construction. Raising kids on the farm brought many opportunities for hard work and many memories of creative ways to get the job done.
He and Camille sold their Lehi home, leaving one dream behind to pave the way for another, to serve a mission together. They realized that dream when they were called to serve in the Illinois Peoria Mission serving at the Nauvoo Visitor Center. Their love for missionary work continued with two more missions, North Carolina Greensboro – Institute Support and New Mexico Albuquerque – Humanitarian. Duane also served in the southern Gulf States Mission in his youth.
He was an active lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was called to serve in many capacities, but, like his career, he loved serving the youth, especially the priest quorum. He also had a passion for researching family history and loved the time he spent serving in the Mesa Arizona Temple.
He leaves a legacy of hard work, dedicated service and a care and concern for the wellbeing of family, friends and those in need.
Duane loved sports and he excelled at them. He played baseball and basketball in high school and his Mesa High basketball team won the state championship in 10th and 11th grade and runner-up in 12th grade, he was the MVP! His coach wrote in his Senior yearbook, “It is an honor to coach a player who makes ‘All State’ 1st Team, Co-Captain and Most Valuable Player award. I really appreciate the chance to work with you. Congratulations to a real Champion.” – Coach Heywood
Duane was a passionate supporter of Arizona sports teams – the Suns, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks, as well as all ASU Sun Devils sports. Basketball was his favorite sport to play and he excelled at it, playing for the University of Arizona in his college years. His wonderful posterity will continue to cheer on his Arizona teams in his memory.
We will miss his wit, his love, his caring, and dedication to all of us. May the beautiful blooming petals of fragrant roses, like those of his garden, remind you of him.
We invite you to share your memories and join us in honoring Duane at his funeral service to be held this Friday, November 4, 2022, 10:00am, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – 2228 E. Brown Road, Mesa, Arizona, 85213. Visitation will be available beginning one hour before at 9:00am as well as the day before on Thursday evening, 5:00pm – 6:00pm (Family), 6:00pm – 8:00pm at Bunkers Mortuary Garden Chapel, 33 North Centennial Way, Mesa, AZ 85201.