Private Richard Eugene Ladd, 85, of Woodbury, Tennessee passed away on Saturday, June 24, 2023. He was born in Monroe, Michigan on Friday, July 9, 1937. Preceding him in death were his wife, Ollie D. "Jay" Sanderson; parents, Ernest and Ida Jane Clark Ladd; and brother, Daniel Ladd.
He is survived by his daughter, Pamela Sumrall of Doyle; sister, Helen Bennett; grandchildren, Brandy Robertson and James Peeler; and great grandson Brandon (Taylor) Harrison.
Richard carved his own path in life from a young age, and oddly enough the road he took resembled the Elvis way. He was a charismatic teenager and a bit of a ladies' man in school, but fresh out, he focused his energies toward working. Just like Elvis, he started off as a truck driver, but later on, he answered the Nation's call.
The Kennedy Administration was about to take office and planned on bolstering efforts in Vietnam, so in January 1961, Richard joined the United States Army. For the majority of his service, he remained stationed in Germany. Though he served as a medic, Richard managed to avoid being sent to Vietnam. His active duty service ended in December 1962 with him achieving the rank of Private First Class, but he remained in the Army Reserves until January 1967.
Fresh out of the military, Richard didn't miss a beat, and he certainly wasn't scared to try anything new. Over the course of his working life, he worked as an electrician, airplane pilot, bus driver, police officer, factory worker, and a sales clerk. His longest stretches were served with Ford Motor Company in Detroit, where he remained for 10 years, and then with Farrer Brothers Hardware in Murfreesboro as a sales clerk.
With the variety of jobs and amount of time spent working, it is hard to imagine Richard having free time, but moving to Tennessee got him more involved in a few of his passions. Riding motorcycles definitely made its way to the top of the list of free-time passions. Richard joined Chapter Y of the Gold Wind Riders Association in Murfreesboro. He had a trike he would ride, and he was all for the friends, fun, safety, and knowledge that the group stood for. One of his most memorable drives too him out to Cherokee, North Carolina.
Speaking of memorable, Richard forgot his high school days as a ladies' man when he met Mrs. Jay. Strolling through the flea market, he spotted a beautiful woman working a booth, and the rest was history. They shared over 20 years together as husband and wife, and it was only when he didn't have the apple of his eye anymore that he decided to go back to his days of stirring the pot with the ladies.
In his older years, Richard became quite the character. He was funny, and everyone loved him. In Richard fashion, he took a particular interest in the ladies and would go on with the girls at the Dollar General. When it wasn't them, he was carrying on with Pam's friends over the phone or Brandon's wife, Taylor, who Richard called "my girl." That was the thing about Richard, he may joke and carry on, but he was fiercely loyal to and protective of the people he loved in life. With his passing, his family has lost the man always there to fix the problem, the man always there to make them laugh, the man always there to wipe away a tear, and the man always there to take care of his girls.
The family will hold private services.
Share memories and condolences at www.gentrysmithfuneralhome.com Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337 Because every life has a story