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Richard Ainsworth Harper went to be with our heavenly Father on June 12, 2018. He passed away at his home at the age of 82 after a two-and-a-half-year battle with liver cancer. He was born on September 28, 1935 in Hearne, Texas to the late Bernice "Bernis" Wilson Harper and the late Kathryn Sowders Harper. Dick, as he was called, grew up in Alexandria, Louisiana and moved to New Orleans for his senior year of high school. After graduating from Warren Easton High School, he attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas where he played trombone in the Aggie Band. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Schroeder Harper and 5 children, Mary Elizabeth Seither (the late Kurt J. Seither; fiancé, James Richard Baker,III), Daniel Patrick Harper, Jane Katherine Hotard (James Sidney, Jr.), Michael Sean Harper (Madeline Ann Hickey) and Nancy Lee Hernandez (Christopher Joseph). His oldest son, David Ainsworth Harper, preceded him in death as well as his son-in-law, Kurt J. Seither, Sr.; his grandson, Kurt J. Seither, Jr. and his brother, Jimmy Ray Harper. He is survived by his 23 grandchildren: Mark Seither (Elizabeth Sikora), Stephen Seither (Ryann Kargus), David Nicholas Harper, William Tom, Calla and Mary Harper, Georgia, Olivia, Juliette, Sophia, Isabella, James, III "Jimbo", Vivienne and Tommy Hotard and Daniel Moore, Katherine, Jack, Chase and Emma Harper, Lilian and Mercedees and Hazel Hernandez, also a great-grandson, Jullian Harper. He is also survived by his dog, Lulu, who brought him much joy and loyal friendship.
Dick was a member of Mensa and an avid reader. He joined St. Dominic Parish after converting to Catholicism on April 6, 1994. He was an architectural estimator for several lumber companies, including Bernard Lumber Company and New Orleans Sash and Door. Dick loved to sail, water ski, hunt and play acoustic guitar but most of the time he just loved to be with his family. As a young man, he taught himself to sail by trial and error. Participating in Lightning sailboat races in the 1950's with the New Orleans Yacht Club on Lake Pontchartrain increased his skills. However, it was hard to win a race with the oldest wooden sailboat on the lake. Sailing taught him to always be aware of the weather, especially to know when a storm was coming to Lake Pontchartrain. Teaching his children to sail and sailing with his grandchildren gave him pleasure well into his retirement years. In retirement, he traveled with Betty to Israel, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, China, Mexico, England, the Caribbean and Peru. Dick was a talented artist and painter. Designing and constructing his home in Lakeview was one of his proudest accomplishments. He developed an interest in genealogy and researched the Harper family back 25 generations.
The family wishes to thank Doctors Alan Yager, Natalie Bzowej, Suma Satti and Daniel DeVun for their loving care during Dick's illness. A special thank you to John and Linda Pippenger for their ministry and their many visits.
Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Dominic Catholic Church, 775 Harrison Avenue, on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 11:00 am. Visitation begins at 9:30 am. Interment: St. Patrick's III Cemetery, 202 City Park Avenue. Arrangements by D.W. Rhodes Funeral Home, 3933 Washington Avenue. Please visit www.rhodesfuneral.com to sign the online guestbook.