On Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, this world lost a superstar and heaven received a saint.
Richard Patrick Stahura Jr. was born March 10, 1952, in Indiana.
Dick was fond of noting that he shared his home town with James Stewart, the beloved actor of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In retrospect, one can see the comparison: a strong, modest, accomplished, decent man who showed that one can be loving without being weak; smart without being arrogant; passionate without losing perspective; and successful without engendering a single enemy.
Dick was born to Audrey and Dick Sr., the eldest of their five children. As a youth, Dick was a natural leader, a solid scholar and a gifted athlete. After a stint as the star quarterback of his high school team, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy, making a cadre of lifelong friends. But the military was not to be his chosen path; he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps in industry, and transferred to Indiana University of Pennsylvania in his hometown.
Conveniently, that left him in proximity to his high school sweetheart, Holly Eaton. They married shortly after graduation and remained blissfully devoted to each other for the next 42 years. When Kristen was born in 1984, the family’s circle of love was complete.
Upon graduation, Dick worked for the family business in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for several years, before spreading his entrepreneurial wings. He and Holly formed Stahura Conveyor Products Inc. in the early 1980s and moved the company and their home to North Carolina. Holly ran the office and Dick was on the road, building the company one customer at a time.
They transformed SCP from a literal “mom & pop” start-up to a thriving business with 30 employees serving thousands of customers.
Dick’s focus never was on how to maximize profits, but on how best to serve the mines and companies of the region by providing the highest quality products that would increase both the efficiency of the customer’s operations and the safety of the customer’s employees. SCP was decades ahead of the country with a key focus on significantly minimizing adverse impacts on the environment. Even SCP’s competitors conceded they could not exceed the quality of the product Dick made available, arguing only that theirs was cheaper. SCP systems literally saved thousands of lungs, limbs and lives of working men and women in the mines of Appalachia.
Despite his professional success, Dick never lost his passion for athletics or the outdoors. He was an active sportsman, truly happy with a fly rod in his hand or skis on his feet — especially if his feet were firmly planted on a mountain in the Colorado Rockies.
Dick is survived by his loving wife, Holly; by his devoted daughter, Kristen; by his father, Dick Senior; by siblings Marilyn Stahura O’Sullivan, Mike (Rita), Dave (Amy), and Tom (Linda); by loving nieces; and by droves of friends made over decades of affection.
For more than his success in business or his skill in the outdoors, Dick’s true love was people. He always was thinking of how he could make things better for others. Even as he battled cancer over the last four years of his life, he never put himself first: His thoughts were focused on his devotion to Holly; his support of Kristen; his gratitude for all the efforts of Marilyn; even how he had not fully appreciated all that his mother, Audrey, went through at the end of her life.
In his waning weeks, as Dick prepared to enter the next world, he allowed himself time to savor all those he had loved, including those he had lost, from his “Grandpap” to Sadie, the beloved family dog. He recalled with gratitude the places he’d seen, the streams he’d waded, the friends he’d laughed with. With a gleam in his eyes, and perhaps mindful of that other native son from his hometown, he noted: “You know, it is a pretty wonderful life.”
Let the bell ring …
A service will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 29 at The Lake at Lissara Lodge, 250 Lissara Lodge Drive, Lewisville, N.C., with arrangements by Salem Funeral and Cremation Services, Winston-Salem, N.C.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, The American Cancer Society or the Wounded Warrior Project.