Capt. Richard D. Scharff, USN Ret. passed away, unexpectedly, on June 29, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida at Mayo Hospital. His wife, Sharon, and daughter, Alison were with him. Sharon held his hand until he took his final breath.
Richard was born in Holdrege, Nebraska, on Nov. 8, 1938. At the age of 7. his family relocated to St. Joseph, Missouri. Richard loved the small town life that beautiful St. Joe provided him. He attended Lafayette High School where he played football and basketball. Richard went on to attend Northwest Missouri State University and graduated in 1961.
Richard married Sharon Young, of St. Joe, on Nov. 10, 1961. The two then embarked on an adventure of a life time. Richard attended OCS (Office Candidate School) in Newport, Rhode Island, graduating in April of 1962. From there, his Navy career took them all over the United States.
Richard left for Vietnam in February of 1967 and returned in the summer of 1968. Upon his return, he was given the choice of duty stations. He choose NAS North Island which brought them to Coronado. Richard served in DeNang, and on many Navy ships, most noteworthy, the USS Coontz, USS Hughes, and his most beloved ship the USS Ranger CV-61. He was the CO of Supply on the Ranger and counts those years as “his best years in the Navy.”
When not out at sea, Richard could be found playing handball on NAS North Island, going for a run, playing golf with friends, lifting weights or being a coach for his children’s sports teams. He also was an active member in his church, St Paul’s United Methodist Church, and served on various committees.
Richard was also a constant figure in and around Coronado High School where his daughter, Alison, attended as well at Saint Augustine High School where his son, Stefan, was a varsity wrestler.
Richard retired from the Navy, after 24 years, in the summer of 1986. He continued his career at the University California San Diego as the head of Procurement. After six years at UCSD, he was recruited to the University of Iowa to take over their office of Procurement. After three years in Iowa City, Iowa, his California roots called him back home to San Diego State University. He continued his career in higher education until his retirement in 2014.
Richard and Sharon stayed in Coronado and volunteered their time with organizations that were near and dear to their hearts. The one place you could always find Richard was aboard the USS Midway Museum. Richard found such enjoyment meeting families that would come to tour the Midway. He was an avid history buff and true patriot and would take anytime he could educating others about Navy history.
After 49 years living in Coronado, Richard and Sharon relocated to Kansas City, Missouri, in 2017 to be close to their hometown of St. Joe. It was in Kansas City where Richard was elected president of the Midwest Navy League. He as also played an active role at the University of Kansas Navy ROTC program. Richard was a constant fixture within the ROTC department. His encouragement and mentorship had a direct impact on the students, sailors and active duty within the university.
In the summer of 2020 Richard and Sharon made one last move to St. Augustine, Florida, to be near their daughter Alison and their grandchildren. He spent a wonderful year being surrounded by his family.
Richard is survived by his wife, of 59 years, Sharon’ his children Stefan Scharff, his daughter Alison Craig; his grandchildren, Michael Scharff and Madison, Jack and Cole Craig; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Richard loved life. He was a Christian, a Navy captain, a patriot, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to all.
Richard’s celebration of life will be held on Nov/ 12, 2021 at Miramar National Cemetery at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made, in Richard’s name, to the USS Midway Museum.