Richard was born on a bright Monday morning in Osage, Kansas to Edward and Georgia Anna Heise. He was greeted by his 3-year-old brother Harrold. Richard’s love of animals developed early as he saved to purchase his first dog a springer spaniel named Lady when he was 14. He assisted his father on their farm and later his uncle in raising wheat for the troops. Richard served in the US Army assisting the medical Corp in the Philippines. Upon discharge in California, he purchased a Harley Davidson that he used to travel through the Southwest.
After leaving active duty he served for several years in the Army reserves. Richard decided to pursue his education at Kansas State University where he obtained his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. While at K-State he attended weekly mass where he met his future wife, Catherine Downey. The two were married the day after they graduated with the happy union enduring for over 70 years. The determination was made that Albuquerque would be a good place to raise a family so Richard accepted a position and they moved to New Mexico. Richard decided to continue his education obtaining a masters in science in toxicology from the University of New Mexico. Wanting to help eradicate cancer his research focused on carcinogens. His work led to the banning of some dyes previously deemed safe for human consumption. Richard received the 28th veterinary license in New Mexico. (He loved his profession and was one of the longest practicing Veterinarians.) Richard and Catherine opened the St. Francis Animal Clinic (6401 Menaul Boulevard NE Albuquerque, NM 87110 – www.NMVet.com) where he provided compassionate, affordable care for over 50 years.
The couple were blessed with 5 children: Patrick (deceased), Georgianna, Magdalana, Francesca (deceased) and Carissima as well as 3 grandchildren Francis, Clair and Joseph. He was proud of his wife, children, and grandchildren’s education and accomplishments. Richard loved nature, family and knowledge. He devoured books being inquisitive throughout his life. Many of his happiest times involved sitting by a fire in his den playing games with the family surrounded by a menagerie of animals.
Richard was a man of faith quietly living it through his actions, emulating St. Francis of Assisi. He was involved in numerous organizations including: Boy Scouts of America, Knights of Columbus, Knights of Jerusalem, Holy Name Society, and the New Mexico Veterinary Medical Association. Richard and his family attended and supported several parishes in Albuquerque including St. Charles Borromeo, Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of Heaven and Our Lady of the Annunciation. Richard and Catherine contributed to building many of these churches and to the establishment of St. Pius X High School.
Richard was a role model to many and practiced the virtues of faithfulness, dedication, forgiveness, generosity and love. He will be greatly missed by his wife, children, grandchildren, friends, clients, and community. A rosary will be recited on Monday, May 8th at 10:00 am followed by funeral mass at 10:30 am at our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Church (2621 Vermont) Albuquerque, NM 87110. Burial will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery (7999 Wyoming Blvd NE). Contributions in his memory can be made to Annunciation Catholic Schools, St. Pius X High School, or Kansas State University school of Veterinary Medicine. Richard’s family is grateful to Msgr. Vorhees for his spiritual guidance, his many loyal clients, his friends and associates. Please keep Richard and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
A Rosary will be held on Monday, May 8, 2023, at 10:00 a.m., followed by Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m., at our Lady of the Annunciation Parish, 2621 Vermont Street NE – Albuquerque, NM 87110.
Monday, May 8, 2023
Starts at 10:00am (Mountain time)
Monday, May 8, 2023
Starts at 10:30pm (Mountain time)