DERBY – Richard L. Abel, 75, died at home on May 16, 2020, of complications from leukemia.

A Celebration of Life will be held later in the year.

Richard was born on August 26, 1944, to Pearl and Landon Abel in Clovis, N.M. He graduated from Wellington High School in 1962 and Emporia State University in 1967. After completing Aviation Officer Candidate School, Richard was commissioned as a Naval Officer, serving in Vietnam and later in the Pentagon. Following military service, he worked in the computing industry and earned a masters degree in engineering from the University of Texas, Arlington. He spent most of his working career with the Boeing Company in Wichita. After retirement, Richard represented the conservation interests of Kansas as one of the first Kansas Master Naturalists. He became an accomplished beekeeper and helped many new beekeepers in the craft. His other love was music, playing double bass in the Friends Community Orchestra and several jazz and bluegrass bands over the years. He was especially proud of starting the youth soccer program in Rose Hill years ago and watching it turn into a perennial state power.

He was preceded in death by his parents; infant brother; and older brother Jim.

He is survived by Sue Ellene, his beloved bride of nearly 54 years; son, Scott and his wife, Kristel of Tallinn, Estonia; daughter, Dr. Jennifer Jackson and her husband, Aaron Jackson of Douglass; grandchildren, Lennart Abel, Kyler, Lauren, and Brett Jackson; and sister, Betty Olson and her husband, Bud of The Villages, Fla.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Derby Public Library or the First Presbyterian Church of Derby. www.smithfamilymortuaries.com

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