Richard "Dick" Lee Micka was born on April 22, 1938, to Albert and Ludmila "Mildred" Micka. Mildred, affectionately known as Momma, gave birth to Dick prematurely at a house in Merrill, OR. Momma was sent home with a very sickly infant Dick in a shoebox with expectations that he wouldn't survive. Oh boy, did God have other plans for Dick. A rich, long, fulfilling life of family, faith, and friendship would follow.
Dick's parents were immigrants from then Czechoslovakia. Albert's family moved to the United States in 1906. After first joining their cousins, the Cacka's, in Lamona, WA, in 1910, the entire family settled in the small Czech farming community of Malin, OR, only a year after the town was established. On a return trip to Czechoslovakia in 1927, Albert met Ludmila Kvapil. After they married in 1930, Albert brought Mildred back to Malin, where they operated a family farm. Dick was very proud of his heritage and grew up speaking Czech in the family home and on the party phone lines of the day.
The youngest of three boys, Dick always tried keeping up with older brothers Bob and Paul. This often led to trouble, such as shooting Bob with a bow and arrow, blowing up "u-boats" in the canal, and even having an anvil dropped on Dick's head.
From his father, Dick learned his hard work ethic and from his mother a great love of family and a fondness for all tasty foods, as she was a great cook. Even as an adult, Dick was known to squirrel away secret sweets stashes.
Growing up in the tiny town of Malin, Dick attended school with the same dozen or so classmates throughout elementary and high school. Dick loved telling the story of holding the doors open so that Bob could ride his horse into the school. Pranks aside, Dick was very smart and excelled academically in all areas, including the honor band. Dick graduated Valedictorian from Malin High School in 1956 and went on to attend Oregon State College (now OSU), graduating in 1960 with an elementary teaching degree and again in 1965 with a master's degree in education. While attending OSC, Dick was a member of the ROTC and would go on to serve in the Army National Guard. He was stationed at Fort Ord.
On January 20, 1964, Dick became a proud "Daddy" to his eldest daughter Christina "Christy" Louise, with his first wife, Linda. From Daddy, Christy learned a love of exploring nature. She grew up spending time with all her extended family creating close bonds with her cousins. Daddy's love of Czech heritage was passed on to Christy. One way Christy continues to pass on this heritage is by following in Momma's footsteps and baking kolaches for her family and grandchildren.
Eventually, Dick met his wife Amy (Truax) at Myrtle Creek Elementary through teaching. Upon meeting Dick, most important to Amy was if he was good enough to be the father to her toddler son, Andrew "Andy." Well, he was, and Dick and Amy married on January 11, 1980. Just as significantly, Dick adopted Andy as his son. Two years later, Dick and Amy welcomed their daughter Bethany Lynn.
Dick and Amy decided on Baker City as their permanent home for their young family and moved in 1983. Dick taught classes from third grade through middle school. Some of his other occupations included radio DJ, ranch hand, and salesman, which he definitely was not. At the age of 54, Dick and the family took a brave leap when Dick returned to college at Western Oregon University, completing the Speech Therapy degree program. It was through speech therapy for the schools that Dick found his career passion and knew he was making a difference in students' lives.
In 1987 Dick and Amy moved out of town to Old Auburn Road. The bonds between Dick and Andy were strengthened with the 100s of miles of hiking, horseback riding, collecting sheds, shooting ground squirrels, bow hunting, and bugling in elk out Old Auburn. Teaching Andy (and Amy and eventually Bethany) to hunt and fish was a joy for Dick. One treasure is that Dick was able to take Andy's son Corwin fishing with the same cane pole Andy learned on as a boy. Being a father to Andy was the most significant impact Dick could have on Andy's life. It is something Andy carries with him throughout his life in his family, being a father to Corwin, and in his profession as a father figure to those in need within the community.
Continuing the trend, Dick also instilled a love of the outdoors in his daughter Bethany. From camping to rafting or simply fishing at Morgan Lake together in later years. Bethany credits her dad with passing on to her the creative gene. Growing up, Dick and Amy read to Bethany every night, sharing their love of literature with her, a passion she carries today.
Even after retiring from the Baker School District, Dick stayed involved with students by doing mountain man presentations at the elementary schools and assisting Mrs. Micka's classroom field trips. Whether presenting to students or volunteering as a Trail Tender for the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Dick played and dressed the part from his fur hat to his hand-carved muzzleloader rifles.
It would fill a book if one were to describe Dick's hobbies. He was a man of many talents, such as wood carving and fly tying, and he could even write backward. Dick and Amy built their dream log home on French Gulch in the early 90s. In addition, Dick built his dream shop with a designated woodworking area. Dick recently completed carving and painting 16 tiny penguins for the attendees of a family reunion earlier this year.
Traveling in retirement was also a joy for Dick. He and Amy pulled their camp trailer throughout the western United States and Canada. Often Dick and Amy were able to camp, hunt and fish with his brother Bob, sister-in-law Shirley and their cousins. Dick got to catch halibut in Elfin Cove, Alaska, eat pasta in Italy and have a roast pig at a luau in Hawaii.
Dick was a football and baseball fan; as a child, his brothers assigned him the Boston Red Sox as one of his teams. He always rooted for the orange and black, his alma mater, the OSU Beavers. While teaching in Monterrey Mexico, he rooted for the Vikingos as they were easiest to pronounce.
Dick's Christian faith was deeply important to him. For over 30 years, he was an active member of the Baker City Nazarene church. Dick and Amy led Celebrate Recovery for a number of years. Dick also was involved with the Restoration program. Dick loved singing hymns, worshiping in church, studying the Bible, and praying for anyone, even if the person was a stranger.
In addition to loving to sing, Dick was musically gifted. He could play the french horn, baritone, and mellophone. Dick was a member of the Baker City Community Orchestra, and playing in the annual holiday performances brought him great happiness.
Dick was many things: son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, cousin, uncle, teacher, and a friend who gave love to all. After a sudden, brief hemorrhagic stroke, Dick went to be with his heavenly father on the morning of September 11, 2022. His beloved wife Amy was able to be with him until the end here, providing him comfort and holding his hand.
Survivors include his wife Amy Micka and son Andy (Tara) Micka of Baker City. Daughter Christy (Gary) Richardson of Grants Pass. Daughter Bethany (Ben) Miller of La Grande. Brother Paul (Alene) Micka of Beaverton. Sister-in-law Shirley Micka of Merrill. Sister-in-law Ann Truax of Milwaukie. Brother-in-law and sister-in-law John and Maria Truax of Corvallis. Grandchildren Audrey (Tom) Reynolds of Wood River, Illinois. Matthew (Lindsey) Richardson of Grants Pass. David Richardson of Carlsbad, California, and Corwin Micka of Baker City. Great-grandchildren Paityn, Jasmine, Malachi, Mason Reynolds of Wood River, Illinois, and Brooks Richardson of Grants Pass. And numerous extended family members.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, Albert & Mildred Micka, and brother Robert Micka.
A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 11:00 AM at the Baker City Church of the Nazarene. Friends are invited to join the family for a reception in the Church Fellowship Hall following the service. Memorial contributions may be made to the Safe Families Program of the Northeast Oregon Compassion Center, Baker Relief Nursery, or the Baker City Nazarene Church in the care of Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, Oregon 97814.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard "Dick" Lee Micka, please visit our floral store.