Richard Keith Morgenstern passed away suddenly on Wednesday June 8th, 2022. Rick was born on March 12, 1951 to Brinah and Stanley Morgenstern in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Henry Ford High School in 1968 and the Air Force Academy in 1972.
After graduating, Rick served in the United States Air Force excelling as a flight instructor at Lackland Air Force Based in San Antonio, Texas. Upon leaving the Air Force in 1976, he was a pilot for Braniff International in Dallas, TX. During his time in Dallas he met his wife Mary one fateful night at the local TGI Friday’s after overhearing that she was also from the Detroit area. They got married on September 1, 1979. They went on to have 3 children, Richard Jr, Michael & Jennifer, and six grandchildren, who were the light of his life. He loved being a grandfather.
Rick had a lifelong passion of flying and all things airplane related. His aviation career spanned 50 years. He flew everything from private jets to large international jets like the DC-10. He literally flew the globe many times over from Reykjavik, Iceland to Honolulu, Hawaii, to Australia, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. He brought home many gifts including chocolates from Belgium, wooden shoes from the Netherlands, a stuffed kangaroo from Australia, and gorgeous jewelry for Mary.
He loved to play golf, often stopping after four holes so that he could say he finished one under par. He was an avid fan of the cinema, frequently communicating with his family solely using movie quotes. Rick’s uniform at home and work was a pair of khaki’s with a golf shirt, which is how he’ll always be remembered.
Whenever he was with his fellow pilots or family, he loved exchanging stories. He nailed most of his landings, and bounced a few, but his most famous landing occurred during Operation Desert Shield. As the story goes, while flying troops from Frankfort to Saudi Arabia, Strategic Air Command diverted him to the United Arab Emirates. Once conditions moved from red to amber, Rick was first in line for takeoff. As he was flying over the desert, with no runway in sight, he could see the scuds and patriots going back and forth in the distance, with each explosion shaking the plane. As he lines up for final approach into Dhahran, the missiles stop, the runway lights pop on painting the desert sky yellow, and from a hotel rooftop a CNN camera pans over to film Rick performing what some have described as the smoothest landing ever made by an Emery Worldwide DC-8, safely delivering our troops.
Blue skies and tailwinds.
Please join us in celebrating the life of Richard on Tuesday, June 14 at Gamble Funeral Service at 410 Stephenson Avenue. The viewing will be from 5-7pm followed by a service at 7:00pm.
Meeting ID: 891 9862 8769