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Richard Estel McArthur, 1944–2021

Wednesday, November 24, 2021
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KENT COUNTY—Richard Estel McArthur, 77, left behind his beloved family and ranch in Kent County, Texas for the last time on November 20, 2021, as he left to make his new permanent residence with his Lord in heaven. Richard passed peacefully while at his home with his wife of 51 years, Amy Luene McArthur, née Patterson, by his side and his daughters nearby. Richard was born to Thomas Eugene McArthur, Jr. and Theda Lee McArthur, née Butler, on March 21, 1944, in Lubbock, Texas. Both of Richard’s parents and his older brother, Thomas Eugene McArthur III, preceded him in death.

Throughout his life, Richard embodied strength, resilience and an unfailing optimistic outlook. Growing up as an only child on a rural ranch, Richard had a childhood that was never lonely so long as he had his horse, Good Girl, and his dog, Trigger, or one of his many cousins available for adventures, or sometimes misadventures, like attempting to carry a baby bobcat on horseback. Richard created his own fun on the long rides to school in Spur on a bus bumping along the dirt roads that connected the ranch to town back then. In high school, when farm and ranch work allowed, he tried a variety of activities including One Act Play, Choir, Ag, and football; he earned awards in both Ag and One Act Play, and earned awards for perfect attendance every year through 11th grade.

After graduating from Spur High School in 1962, Richard continued his education at South Plains College, and later Texas Tech University, making him a lifelong Red Raider fan. Richard was a reservist for the U.S. Marine Corps from 1966 to 1972. During his college and Marine days, he met Amy Luene Patterson, with whom he was so smitten, he sold a cow to purchase an engagement ring for her. Richard and Luene married on June 26, 1970, in Seminole, Texas. The couple moved to Spur before settling on the McArthur family ranch, where Richard would spend the rest of his life engaged in farming and ranching. Over the years, the couple raised two daughters and many dogs and cows.

Richard’s strength and resilience, as well as his incredibly optimistic attitude, were put to the test when he suffered a debilitating accident that left him a paraplegic in 1975. After losing his able-bodied status, Richard was faced with a life that would forever be hard, but he shook up that upside-down world and rose up to live his best life. He was fiercely independent and resourceful in his approach to ranching and raising a family without the full use of his body.

With the exception of recent years when his health had declined, Richard got up every day and went out to tend his cows. He also attended as many events as he could to support his children and grandchildren, of whom he was infinitely proud; in his eyes, they were always the smartest, fastest, strongest, or whatever superlative fit what they were doing in school, sports or life at the time.

When he loved, he loved without doubt, and his loved ones were never uncertain of where they stood with him. Richard is survived by his wife, Luene; his daughters, Amy Jones and husband, Mike, of Lubbock, Texas, and Crystal Leary and husband, Bob, of Spur; his grandchildren, Keely, Shane, Olivia, Mallory, Richard, Leah and Daniel; his siblings-in-law, Linda and Terry Powell of Sweetwater, Texas; Laurie Allen of Lubbock and Lex Patterson of Slaton, Texas; and his nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends whom he also considered family. Richard will be missed, but his family and friends will remember him fondly and rejoice in his freedom from pain and suffering.

A graveside service under the direction of Zapata Funeral Home was held at the Red Mud Cemetery on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Richard’s brother-in-law, Lex Patterson, sons-in-law Bob Leary and Mike Jones, and cousin Guy McArthur spoke at the graveside service, and friends and family were invited to say a few words if they felt called to do so. Attendees wore red and black to honor Richard’s allegiance to his Red Raiders. Following the graveside service, the family hosted a celebration of life at the family home on the McArthur Ranch. In lieu of flowers, the family recommends donations to the Spur Volunteer Fire Department.