On January 25, 2018, surrounded by his loving wife and three children, Richard Lowell “Dick” Halbert, 89, of Nampa, Idaho slipped sweetly into the eternal presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In spite of the dementia that robbed his memories, Dick kept his sense of humor and ability to express his deep love for Jesus and his family almost until the end. Just one day before he was finally unable to recognize his family, he was still able to sing the bass line to “In the Sweet Bye and Bye”, as he had done so many times before in his life. As he lay in a hospital bed, he continued singing “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me”. Dick was truly a man that loved the Lord with his whole being.
Dick was born in Mansfield, Ohio on April 9, 1928, the second son of Albert and Edna Halbert. When Dick was about 2 years of age, his father noticed that Dick and his brother were beginning to mirror a lot of their Daddy’s habits and actions and that bothered their father deeply.
In the midst of the depression, Dick’s dad could not find work and could not feed his family. He was not a religious man but while traveling back from a failed attempt to find employment in the nearby town, Dick’s father told the Lord that if God would just feed his family, that they would serve Him. Albert took a few more steps and there, standing on its side in a bank of snow was a shiny half-dollar which bought the family armloads of groceries, and as Dick often remembered, those groceries included a piece of penny candy for each of the boys. A short while later, Dick’s grandma was finally successful in getting Dick’s parents to attend church one Sunday where the Lord miraculously saved them and a whole new life began for their family. Dick’s father became a Wesleyan Methodist minister and Dick gave his life to the Lord around the age of 5.
After graduating from high school at the age of 17, Dick attended Marion Wesleyan College in Marion, Indiana for one year prior to military service in the Korean Conflict. It was 1950 and the draft was in full swing. Dick knew he was going to be drafted into the Army, so he preempted being drafted by enlisting first in the US Air Force where he spent the next four years as a military photographer, serving as the private photographer of the Air Force General over the NATO forces in Europe where one of his duties included filming the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II for the BBC. It was during his military service that he walked into the Burbank, California First Church of the Nazarene and laid eyes on a beautiful raven-haired girl, singing in the choir. After two more years overseas, he returned to Burbank to claim his bride and on October 30, 1954, he wed Ruth Elnora Rutledge in a large church ceremony.
Dick and Ruth welcomed their first daughter, Judy, in December of 1955 and Jeannie came along about three years later. Their family was completed when in 1961, their son Jim was born. One of the greatest memories of Dick’s life was seeing his own father praying over the crib of his infant grandson, Jim, where he expressed to the Lord that he would be very pleased if He would see fit to call Jim into the ministry. The Lord did just that, and till his dying day, one of the greatest thrills of Dick’s life was to attend church and listen to his son preach. He often wondered if God allowed Grandpa to hear Jim preach from heaven. His children were the pride and joy of his life and he loved it when one of his grandchildren or great-grandchildren would ask him about art, cars, guns, computers or any other subject he was so familiar with.
After completing his college education, Dick became a commercial artist and advertising executive. He opened Richard Halbert Advertising in the Los Angeles area in 1966. Over the years he continued his hobbies of car repair, photography, hunting, reading, working in his shop and singing. A devoted disciple of Christ, Dick spent his life serving the Lord. He was a great man of faith and prayer and a devoted churchman, serving over the years on the church board, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school and was an accomplished violinist and soloist. His dry humor and infectious laugh will stay with all that knew him.
Dick was a tender, loving man that always, unashamedly expressed his love for his family. When their children were small, Dick would always bring home two boutonnieres and 3 corsages to outfit the entire family to wear to church on Mother’s Day. This was his way of honoring Ruth and the fact that she was the glue that held their little family together. From the moment that he first laid eyes on Ruth at the Burbank Church until his last breath, his heart beat only for her. Just hours before his passing, he struggled to purse his lips to kiss Ruth goodbye for the last time. He first proposed to Ruth in a Valentine letter from overseas in 1954 and every year after that until he could no longer remember to do it, he wrote her a love letter every Valentine’s Day. The last words he uttered on this earth, before his dementia completely rendered him unable to recognize his loved ones, were just for Ruth. With one split second of clarity in the midst of his confusion he looked into her eyes and told Ruth “I love you”.
Dick is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ruth Halbert, their children, Judy and her husband Wes Beaver of San Diego, California, Jeannie and her husband Chuck Keneley of Eagle, Idaho and Jim and his wife, Dori Halbert also of Eagle, Idaho, 7 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Albert, his mother Edna and his brother Ken.
Dick’s last words on this earth were spoken just days before he passed. The last time he awoke, he told his daughter, Jeannie “I gotta get out of here!” Two days later, he did just that and is now in the presence of his Savior and so many others that he loved.
The family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Heart ‘n Home Hospice and Palliative Care Services for coming alongside them and helping them through the difficult time of Dick’s final days. They truly were a God-send and helped to create special memories that the family will cherish forever!
A celebration of Dick’s life will be held at the Nampa First Church of the Nazarene, 601 16th Ave. So., Nampa, Idaho on Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 at 10am.with military honors by personnel from the US Air Force Base in Mt. Home, Idaho. The family will greet loved ones and friends at the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel, 415 12th Ave. So. - Nampa - 208-442-8171. An online guest book and the complete obituary are available at www.nampafuneralhome.com