September 9, 1932 – August 10, 2019
Richard, the last of the true cowboys, was truly one of a kind. He was born on the exact same farm he spent all but 13 years of his life on and passed away almost 87 years later on the same spot.
Richard was the youngest of 7 children of George and Eva Battersby and was born on September 9, 1932. Growing up, Richard excelled at playing ball, pond hockey, and learned his love of old-time music and dancing while helping on the farm. From an early age it became apparent that Richard had a wily and mischievous sense of humour. He was a master prankster and would delight at surprising people and quickly shifting the blame to some one else.
From 1952 to 1953, Richard made his way to Northern Ontario and threw in with a logging crew to make money over the winters. After this hard job, Richard decided to make his way to Alberta to build wooden grain elevators. The next four years Richard travelled around Alberta and in his worn rubber boots would climb up ropes with no assistance to heights 50-80 feet laying wood. His ability to work at these great heights earned him the highest wages in elevator crew.
In 1958 Richard worked as ranch crew in Alberta at such locations as Brooks, Gem, Okotoks, and Sundrie. During the next seven years of riding the ranches working is where Richard adopted his patented cowboy hat that he was almost never seen without. Richard returned to the farm in Shell Lake in 1965 and worked hard on his own farm allowing his parents to retire.
Now Richard scared the crap out of anyone who ever drove with him. He had only two speeds….off and….to the floor. This coincided with the fact that there wasn’t a vehicle or piece of equipment that wasn’t “well used” in Richard’s possession. However, Richard was a natural with all animals including cattle, horses, dogs and cats. His love and patience earned him unnatural loyalty with his character and skill.
Through the 1970’s and 1980’s Richard continued to play hockey and fast ball, joining the Spiritwood Elbow benders and playing hockey tournaments around North America earning him awards for MVP.
Richard was not a talker preferring to listen and maybe chime in for a question or well thought out observation. Richard is the guy we knew from trail rides, community dances, working cattle, playing cards, and helping all out when it was needed on our farms, our pastures, and our community building projects.
Richard never seemed to dress for the occasion especially in winter, even if it meant wearing two pairs of jeans for snow pants and a cowboy hat in the bitter cold. Richard was a tough cowboy. Never a guy to ask for help if he didn’t absolutely need it, he would just work harder. Richard had a talent to overcome most obstacles with a stubborn will, grit and determination.
In 1990 Richard, a confirmed bachelor at 57 years old married Corrie Rush and three new kids entered his life. His kindness, love, and patience with his wife and newfound kids filled their new home on the farm with joy! Through the next two decades extended families came into the mix, and new kids and grandkids arrived on the scene. He taught everyone something, and found time to be a very engaged husband, father, grandfather and neighbor.
Richard and Corrie built a life on the farm for the past 30 years. They rarely missed an old-time dance within 60 miles and travelled to exciting places like Europe, Australia, Alaska, the US and here in Canada. Getting him off the farm was the hardest thing, but once there he enjoyed himself immensely.
Richard loved his family including all his kids more than anything. He also valued friendship, integrity, loyalty and hard work. He was once asked if offered a million dollars would he sell his farm and move. He quietly pondered it and said..”no I don’t think so…we got it pretty good here…”. That was Richard.
Richard was predeceased by his parents as well as all of his siblings. He is survived by wife Corrie Rush-Battersby, kids Kevin (Charlene), Colin (Lisa), and Rhonda (Kristen), including seven grandchildren (Britain, Nathan, Grace, Eden, Audrey, Caleb, & Jude) and numerous nieces and nephews. Donations in honour of Richard can be made to the Scandia Church in Shell Lake.
He touched all of our lives with his kindness, compassion and good-natured soul. We are all a little better for having known him and a little less without him.
A Funeral Service was held Sunday, August 18, 2019 at 11:00 am from the Lions Community Hall, Shell Lake, SK with Delores Beaulac officiating. Music selections were sung by Ron and Carol Schira and also Patty Heisler, the eulogy was given by Colin Rush, Todd Clark and Britain Mills-Dawes. Honorary Pallbeareres were considered “All who knew and loved Richard” the urn bearer was Kevin Rush. Richard’s final resting place is in Scandia Cemetery. Immediately following the service, the family invited everyone present for lunch and fellowship in the Lions Hall. After the interment service Richard’s family invited all present to the family farm for a camp fire to share stories and memories. Family and friends wishing to send online condolences are invited to visit www.beaulacfuneralhome.com. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Beau Lac Funeral Home, Mark Muir Funeral Director, Spiritwood, SK (306) 883-3500.
To send flowers to Richard's family, please visit our floral section.