Richard's Story

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Richard Collett, 87, formerly of Bladensburg, Rd., died at 12:30 a.m. December 25, 2017 at Vista Woods Care Center.
Dick was born in Detroit, MI on June 6, 1930 to Clarence and Bell Conley Collett. The family soon moved to Ottumwa where Dick grew up. He graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1948 after which he joined the U.S. Army.
Dick served in Japan for two years before deployment to Korea in August 1950 as a combat infantryman with the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On November 3, 1950 two months into his deployment, Dick was captured by the Communist Chinese. He spent the rest of the war, 34 months, as a Prisoner of War primarily at Camp 5 along the Yalu River border with China. He wrote an oral history book about his experiences entitled "Ottumwa to the Yalu and Back".
Dick attained the rank of Sergeant First Class and received several medals including the Combat Infantry Badge, the Purple Heart, POW medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and others.
After the war, he married his sweetheart, Wanda Carr on March 5, 1954. Dick worked for the Post Office, first with the Railway Mail Service in Chicago, then transferred to Council Bluffs for a year and finally to the Ottumwa Post Office. His first assignment in Ottumwa was as a clerk, followed six years later as a letter carrier for 24 years until his retirement in 1985.
Dick also owned and operated Collett Bookkeeping Service from 1966 to 2005.
Dick served as the Auditor of the Ottumwa Postal Credit Union and later appointed Chairman of the Board. He was a member of several organizations including the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 447, National Association of Retired Federal Employees, National Association of Tax Practitioners, American Association of Retired Persons, Korean Veterans Association, National Member of American POW's, O.B. Nelson Post #3 American Legion and Walter B. Schafer Post #775 Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Surviving is his wife, Wanda; two sons, Richard Collett Jr. of Ottumwa and Michael (Christiane) Collett of Nuremburg, Germany; a daughter, Kristel (Nick) Linberg of Waukee; two grandsons, Max and Harry; four granddaughters, Carina, Rebecca, Laura and Sara; three great-granddaughters, Carly, Ajia and Anaya; three great-grandsons, Isaac, Alan and Michael; a brother, Walter of Asheville, NC and two sisters, Marilyn Westfall and Martha Young both of Norwalk.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Philip; a grandson, Joshua John-Paul and two great-grandsons, Christopher and Tyreek.
Funeral services will be 1 p.m. Friday at First Lutheran Church with Rev. Mark Johnson officiating. Burial will be in Shaul Cemetery with military services conducted by Walter B. Shafer Post #775 Veterans of Foreign Wars and O.B. Nelson Post #3 American Legion.
Visitation begins at 11 a.m. Thursday at Reece Funeral Home with the family present from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be given to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, TRIBUTE PROGRAM, P.O. Box 1000 Dept 142, Memphis, TN 38101-9908.
Published on December 26, 2017
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