Dennis Richins Memorial Fund
Honoring one of Washington's Agriculture Legends: Dennis Richins
May 9, 1948 – March 7, 2018
Dennis D. Richins passed away peacefully, with family at his side, after a brief diagnosis of cancer of the lungs while in Yuma, Ariz. on March 7, 2018.
Dennis was born May 9, 1948 in Rigby, Idaho, the son of Richard and Phronia Richins. He was raised near Mud Lake, Idaho where he attended local schools and graduated from West Jefferson High School in 1966.
Following high school, Dennis moved to Moses Lake, Wash. where his parents relocated and was employed at various seasonal jobs in the Columbia Basin in the potato industry. In 1968 he became a full-time employee at SunSpiced, Inc., a company that contracted with local potato growers, providing storage, packing and sales of potatoes. Dennis worked at SunSpiced, Inc. and the parent company, Basic American Foods, for 40 years holding numerous management positions until his retirement in 2009. Upon “retirement” he went to work for Stahl Hutterian Brethren until his passing. Dennis enjoyed his continued work in the potato industry and working with John Stahl. He was an excellent employee, smart, efficient, thoughtful and honest. He was well respected in the potato industry and served on the Washington State Potato Commission.
Dennis was a quiet man, listened intently and didn’t talk just to be talking. His words of advice or opinions were taken seriously because of his experience or just plan common sense. He developed a mutual respect with many friends and business associates in the potato industry over his 50-year career. One such special working/friend relationship was with “the other Dennis”, Dennis Conley.
In 1967 he caught Karene “Kerri” Dexter’s attention in Moses Lake while cruising Broadway Avenue in his hot Mustang and then began courting her at her job as a car hop at Dog ‘n Suds Drive In at Five Corners. They were married in 1969. They remained in Moses Lake, making a home and raising their two children Lisa and Ryan. As a young family they enjoyed camping in their RV trailer. They traveled to Canada, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Perhaps their favorite place was the Entiat River near Wenatchee, Wash. carrying on a family tradition started by Kerri’s family.
Dennis enjoyed over 40 years of elk hunting in the Colockum Pass above Wenatchee Heights, maintaining long lasting friendships. Joe Varney became a lifelong friend and hunting partner as a result of their common interests. Dennis enjoyed hunting, fishing, crabbing, golfing, reading, playing solitaire and the Arizona winter sunshine. Together, Dennis and Kerri appreciated the Yuma snowbird relaxed life during the months of January and February with extra special time when their daughter would visit. He also liked attending his grandsons’ (Sevryn and Cole) soccer and baseball games. Dennis had many talents. He was very mechanical, rebuilding engines and repairing vehicles along with general handyman skills. He and his son rebuilt a VW Bug together.
We treasure his practical positive philosophy of life. Dennis was not a worrying person and would often say “it is what it is” or “you can’t change the past” and “worry doesn’t change anything, so don’t worry about it.”
Dennis is survived by his wife, Kerri of 49 years; daughter Lisa Richins (Chris) and son Ryan (Sydney) and grandsons Sevryn and Cole Richins; his mother Phronia Richins; brothers Jim (Dori) Richins and Jay Richins and sisters Susan Alan and Kathy (Terry) Mitchell as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Dennis was preceded in death by his father Richard Richins.
Memorial donations may be made to the Washington State Potato Foundation, P. O. Box 5051, Pasco, WA 99302.