Entry Date: '66

Exit Date:


Status: D: 08/01/2020

RICH, Harold (Gus), of Cookeville, died at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, from complications involving a stroke. He was born 83 years ago in Fresno, California. Gus was the American Legion Post Commander in Cookeville for 11 years, and only recently resigned. He was an active person, contributing greatly to the operations of the plant nursery he, and his wife, Sheila, owned. He was a farmer at heart and was out tilling the ground for late vegetable plants just a week before his last illness. Gus was no stranger to tragedy, having lost both his wife and son years before meeting Sheila. With his marriage to Sheila, he found a large family ready to embrace him as father and grandfather. He and Sheila just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Gus earned a B.A. in business from University of California Fresno before being commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy. During his career, he was a farmer, tilling the ground near Susanville, California. Later, he was a property appraiser and assisted Sheila in the operations of Jean Martin Homes for the deaf and blind in Sacramento. But it was his work as a missionary where his legacy will be most appreciated. He helped build schools and a hospital in Honduras, where he served helping the local people for four years. A “can-do” person, he purchased and loaded a box truck with tools and other helpful supplies and drove the Pan American Highway from Cookeville to Honduras. It was during this 12-day trip that a huge earthquake hit and made navigation on the highway nearly impossible. He never considered turning-around but found ways to continue a trip that would help many people. He is survived by his wife, Sheila; sons, Terrance, Michael and Russell; his daughter, Kathleen and their spouses; and 12 grandchildren, Sarah, Natalie, Yamilet, Remy, Catita, Jason, Anthony, Johnny, Sara Rita, Jacob, and Benjamin. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Cookeville for 18 years and taught Sunday school for several years. Memorials may be given to the American Legion where scholarships for books and tuition assistance have been established. His granddaughters, Natalie and Yamilet, were with him during his peaceful transition.