The Reverend Richard Mel House, pastor of St. John Catholic Church in Naches since 2011, died Friday, March 31, after a long battle with cancer. He was 63. Bishop Joseph Tyson and Msgr. John Ecker of the Catholic Diocese of Yakima were with him. The excellent care he received from parishioners as well as the staff of the North Star Lodge cancer treatment center in Yakima was a great comfort to him in his final days.
Father Richard was born March 17, 1954 in La Jolla, Calif. to Melvin V. and Sydney (Stauffer) House. He was raised by his stepmother, Elizabeth House. He attended elementary school in San Diego and was a 1972 graduate of Clairemont High School there.
After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was Honorably Discharged in 1987. He received a Bachelor’s degree in liberal studies that year from Loyola University in New Orleans, then entered Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. Upon graduation he was ordained a Priest by Bishop Francis George, O.M.I. on May 22, 1992 at St. Paul Cathedral in Yakima. He served as Associate Pastor at Christ the King Church in Richland, Pastor of St. Joseph Church in White Salmon and Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Ephrata. He returned to the U.S. Navy as a Chaplain from 2000 until 2011, serving at Camp Pendleton, Calif., aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, Bahrain, Hawaii and Japan. After his Honorable Discharge, he became the Pastor of St. John Church.
Father Richard was noted for a lively preaching style, which he often attributed to the influence of his faith-filled Pentecostal grandfather. He also owned an extensive collection of more than 300 nativity sets, including a Fontanini display from Italy with over 1,000 pieces, which he delighted in putting on display in July 2015 at St. Paul Cathedral School. He also maintained a lifelong friendship with Bishop George and was pleased to be able to attend the ceremony in Rome honoring the bishop’s elevation to a Cardinal of the church in February 1998.
He is survived by his sister, Gina Flower of Steilacoom, and brothers, Troy Dockins of Beaverton and Steven House of Lake Elsinore; also, nephews and niece, David, Chris & Kyle Flower, and Gillian and Harris Dockins and 5 great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Viewing begins at 5:00 p.m. and Vigil Services at 5:30 p.m. at St. John Catholic Church, 203 Moxee Avenue, Naches on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Paul Cathedral, corner of S. 12th and West Chestnut Avenues, Yakima. Private family inurnment will be in the Ephrata Cemetery, Ephrata, WA. Memorials may be made to St. John Catholic Church, Naches, c/o Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory, PO Box 1267, Moxee, WA.
Brookside Funeral Home and Crematory is entrusted with the arrangements.