New Richard J. “Dick” Pond, 95, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 27, 2020 at the Hospice Care Center in Brooksville, FL after being in home hospice care since the beginning of October 2019.
Dick was born in Massillion, OH on May 19, 1924, son of the late Albert and Martha Pond. Upon high school graduation in 1943, Dick joined the U.S. Army at age 18. Instead of basic training, he spent a year learning every aspect of communications. He was chosen and flown to London as the nucleus of the 3118 Signal Corps. Dick was assigned to SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces) under the direction of General Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme commander. He ended up in Rheims, France where Dick was given the honor of handling the final message from the German surrender. He was present when General Jodl came to surrender at the building the Americans dubbed the Little Red Schoolhouse, May 7, 1945.
A few months later, Dick was being processed for top secret clearance to free him for work as a civilian with the State Department in Washington, D.C. He applied for the Foreign Service and this began his life as a world traveler. His first assignment was in Copenhagen where he met and married his first wife. They had two sons and a daughter in the years that followed. Tragedy struck in Bangkok, Thailand, in July 1969, when their 13 year old daughter was killed in a car accident. A few years later Dick and his wife divorced.
After being in Foreign Service, Dick retired and worked for USAID serving in Blantyre, Karachi, Hawaii, Saigon, Rio de Janeiro, and Amman. While in Amman, Dick took up oil painting. In December 1972, his paintings were part of an exhibition presented by the Diplomatic Club in Amman. After 30 years of service with the Department of State, Dick retired from Kabul, at age 50, in 1974. Dick said, “The countries I enjoyed the most had the least”.
In January 1975, while celebrating the Pittsburgh Steelers 1st Super Bowl win, he met his 2nd wife, Saundra, and they married in September of that year. Their son, Jason, was born in January 1977.
Dick and the family moved to Spring Hill, FL in 1979. Throughout the years, he enjoyed serving in various church capacities. His other interests were playing bridge along with other card games, solving Sudokus, and going on cruises with family. He and his wife had been on a total of fifty cruises together. Dick was fun loving, had an infectious laugh, was a faithful, loving husband and servant of the Lord. He is preceded in death by his father, mother, and brother. He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Saundra Dize Pond and three sons, Eric (Goslar, Germany), Peter (Lynda; Eugene, OR), Jason (Melinda; Spring Hill, FL), 8 grandchildren, 4 great-grandsons, nieces, nephews, along with many caring friends.