Our beloved brother, Lyle Leo Richner, went to Jesus Sunday, March 13, 2022. He was born December 23, 1949 to Herbert “Bert” Donovan and Thelma Gertrude (Tobias) Richner in Bellingham. He spent his first 13 years on the family farm in Deming. Lyle moved to Rainier School, in Buckley, Washington, in 1963 and resided there through 2018. He then moved to Lynden, Washington, under the care of Cascade Connections’ Supported Living Program. In his final weeks, he received compassionate care from Hospice House staff.
Lyle attended Deming Elementary School where he learned to read and write under the teaching of Joyce Braithwaite. Our family is grateful for those early years of education and spiritual influence as well.
Having spent his early years on a farm, his love of animals and farm machinery continued throughout his life. He especially enjoyed being on his brothers’ farms. A highlight of his home visits was accompanying his brother Toby to Ed Pomeroy’s farm. During his home visits he was able to spend time with all of his local siblings.
His home vacations and visits included all the holidays as well as other family gatherings. One particular activity was accompanying family members to brother Larry’s ranch in Twisp during hunting season. Each year while Toby served as cook, Lyle relished his role as “Chef Lyle,” complete with chef’s jacket and hat, as he baked and served chocolate chip cookies.
His 60th birthday celebration was held at a conference center and nearly all his family members attended. A video of highlights of his life was shown and included a flight in an ultralight, a hiking and fishing trip into the headwaters of Bell Creek, Special Olympics, driving a tractor, making cider, and camping with family at Little Naches.
While at Rainier School, he held a variety of jobs, both on and off site: salesman at farmers markets for the products from the wood shop where he did woodworking, recycling at a college, and staff at a thrift store. Some of the money earned funded his trips to the canteen for coffee and doughnuts. He was quite happy when he could proudly say “I’m retired.”
Lyle loved his family and knew how much he was loved. He would often name all the members of his family, from siblings and spouses to nieces, nephews and was proud to be an uncle and a great uncle.
He was preceded in death by his parents Bert and Thelma; brothers Johnny, Dan, and Larry; sister-in-law Mary Richner; nieces Tracy Richner and Sally Chapman; nephews Roger Richner and Jeffery Thornton. He is survived by brothers Toby (Sue), Dave (Maxine), sisters Sally (Gary) Culbert and Becky Unger; sisters-in-law Marilyn Richner and Lorraine Richner and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.
A graveside service will be held 2:00 PM Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at Greenacres Cemetery in Ferndale followed by a celebration of his life at Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, 2600 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA 98229 at 3:30 p.m., with Pastor Eric Finsand officiating. Masks will be required at the Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations to Friends of Rainier, P. O. Box 516, Medina, WA 98039; Cascade Connections, P. O. Box 3174, Ferndale, WA 98248; or Whatcom Hospice Foundation, 3001 Squalicum Pkwy, Suite 11, Bellingham, WA 98225.