August 5, 1922 ~ August 20, 2020

Born in: Long Beach, California
Resided in: Palos Verdes Estates, California

Richard Lee Fahrney, a resident of Palos Verdes Estates California, passed away on Thursday August 20, 2020 in Palos Verdes Peninsula, California. Born in Long Beach, California, Richard “Dick” was 98 when he died.

Dick served in the Air Force for 31 years as a pilot and rose to the rank of full Colonel. He enlisted in 1942, finished first in his pilot training class and soon trained hundreds of fighter pilots for combat during WWII. While in the service, Dick received his Electrical Engineering degree (Bachelor’s) and MBA. He managed the development of the first communication satellite for the US Air Force and supervised the program that designed and developed an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system which surveys and performs command and control of aircraft, ships and vehicles by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes. He was awarded the Legion of Merit on two separate occasions.

Dick and his wife of over 70 years, Dorothy lived in over 22 places from Nome, Alaska to London, England and from Arlington, Virginia to Boston, Massachusetts during their lifetime.

He is survived by his daughter (Susan Fahrney), son (Richard L. Fahrney II), four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A gathering of family and friends will be held on September 10, 2020 at the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.

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  1. Thoughts on my grandfather:

    I’ve always been proud of Gran. Not every kid can say that his grandfather is a retired USAF colonel who was involved with ground-breaking projects such as AWACS radar, operations like the Berlin airlift, and classified projects that he still can’t talk about. As I’ve gotten older, I am still impressed by the life Gran has led, and all that he has experienced, but I’m more appreciative of how he has lived his life, the choices and sacrifices he has made, and what a great role model he has been for me. He has demonstrated by example what things are important in life, and helped teach me how to become a man.
    Here are a few things that gran has taught me:
    Whatever challenges I face, there is someone who has succeeded before me who had less advantages than I do.
    Never shy away from work. Work builds character, improves your capacity, and makes you more appreciative when you succeed.
    Choosing your spouse is probably the most important decision of your life.
    Doing things the right way matters, and in the long run, is usually the easiest way to do things.
    Juggling lemons is harder than it sounds.
    You can disagree with someone and still love them.
    Being a grownup means that you take responsibility for yourself and your actions. At some point, good or bad, you have created your own circumstances.
    When you hit Mach 2 in an F-4 Phantom, it doesn’t feel that fast because there aren’t any reference points in the sky.
    If you take care things, they will last longer. This is especially true of your body.
    Be generous with what you have.
    Enjoy being outside, but wear sunblock.
    Life is better when you can share it with good friends.
    Sometimes Taco Bell is better than a home-cooked meal, especially if you get cinnamon crisps.
    When you can, it is best to do things yourself.
    Sometimes you need to be told “no.”
    Use the right tool for the job. If you don’t have the right tool, ask Gran.
    The ingredients to a good life include honesty, decency, effort, thoughtfulness, and perseverance. When these are applied consistently, you will have a life you can be proud of.
    Gran has been a constant presence my life, and his love and guidance over the years have provided comfort, direction, encouragement, reassurance, security, and motivation to navigate through life to this point. His influence is part of my core, and will always be with me. He has provided an example of how I want to live my life, and what kind of man I want to be.

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