A memorial service is planned in April for Richard Ware Lantz of Fauntleroy, gone after what his family describes as “a full life,” and you’ll likely agree after reading the remembrance they’re sharing:
Ware Lantz, 97, died at home in his sleep on February 16, 2014, following a short illness. He lived up to his teenage nickname “Gadget,” for he was forever inventing, dissecting, conducting studies, diagramming, exploring new technologies, going wherever his curiosity took him. He was a consummate storyteller, and loved to read.
Ware was born in 1917, in Kearney, Nebraska. His earliest years were on a dry wheat farm in eastern Colorado. At the beginning of the Dust Bowl, his family moved to Hoquiam, Washington, where he grew up working in his father’s auto service/repair business. He put himself through college during the Depression, and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1940.
Early in the Second World War, he went to work at the Seattle Pacific Shipyard. He was immediately smitten with his new draftsman (appropriate term at the time), Ruth Immel, and they married eight months later.
They moved to Boston when Ware took a position at the Radiation Lab at MIT, working on development of radar defense systems. After the war, they relocated to California for work with North American Aviation, and in 1949 they moved to Seattle, where he worked for Boeing. While at Boeing, Ware was a supervisor on the Bomarc and Minuteman missile systems. After 30 years, he retired and began a second career, building architectural models, and picture framing.
When his hands could no longer manage delicate model pieces, he took commissions building church furniture. Until the week before he died, he was always working on one project or another, and providing assistance and counsel to others on an array of projects.
In 1979 Ware initiated organizing the Fauntleroy community to oppose legislative plans for major expansion of the local ferry dock and turning Fauntleroy Way into a state highway. In time, the Fauntleroy Environmental Association as it was known, evolved into the present day Fauntleroy Community Association. Ware was also one of the neighbors originally involved in establishing and maintaining Cove Park, immediately adjacent to the ferry dock.
Ware and Ruth raised their five children in the Fauntleroy neighborhood of West Seattle. When the children were gone, they moved to their final home on the beach of Fauntleroy Cove, and began serious travels to explore other cultures. They had been married 63 years when his beloved Ruth died. Two people could not have been more in love.
From the introduction of radio, to the development of radar, and the ubiquitous use of digital communication, Ware thrived on it all. His was a life well lived. His curiosity and gentle spirit will be greatly missed.
Ware is survived by his sister, Ruth Kraft, and his 5 children, Paul (Kathy) Lantz, Judy (Michael) Leary, Christine Lantz, Susan Lantz-Dey (Mike Dey), and Jennifer Lantz and her daughter, Jane Osteen.
A celebration of Ware’s life will take place at the Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California Ave. SW) on Sunday, April 6, at 1:30 PM. Donations in his name may be made to Heifer International (heifer.org), the West Seattle Food Bank (westseattlefoodbank.org), or the Mount St. Vincent Foundation (washington.providence.org).
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