Dick Rel – UPDATED


Funeral Services for 83-year old Dick Rel of Chadron, NE, are Tues, Dec 14, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Chadron.

Burial will be at the Calvary Cemetery in Chadron.

A memorial has been established for the DAV – Disabled American Veterans and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.

Online condolences may be left at

Ricardo Lopez “Dick” Rel was born on May 4,1938, in Las Cruces, NM, to Blas and Juanita Garcia Rel. He passed on Sat, Dec 4th, 2021 in Scottsbluff from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Although Dick lived most of his life in Southern California, his heart was in Nebraska. About 10 years after retiring, he moved back to “good ol’ Nebraska.” First to Crawford, and then Chadron.

The Panhandle of Nebraska reminded Dick of his birthplace, he always referred to this area as “beautiful country.” He enjoyed family, friends, fishing and cultivating a prolific garden every summer. He never met a stranger.

One of 12 children, Dick was a playful child, always getting in trouble for playing when he was supposed to be working on the rancheria. He loved riding horses. In fact, his first memory was trying to fill the water trough before the horses drank it all. He also enjoyed jumping and swimming in the pond with his dog, Wolf, and meals with his large family.

Dick moved to North Hollywood, Calif, when he was 15. He caught the eye of his neighbor Patricia “Patsy” Muro and “the rest is history.” In 1957, at the age of 19, they were married and their love story continued. Dick and Pat began their family in 1964 and celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this past November.

In 1961, Dick enlisted in the US Army and became a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne – the unit known as the Screaming Eagles. Dick was stationed near Nashville during the height of desegregation.

When African American students were beginning to integrate into all-white schools, Dick was one of the soldiers appointed to safely escort the students through angry hordes of protesters.

After he was honorably discharged, he returned to Southern California, and explored his passion for landscaping and botany. He began his own landscaping business and enjoyed a variety of clients, including celebrities.

Dick is survived by his wife Patricia Rel of Chadron, NE; children Robin Stetson (Tony) of Crawford, Ron Rel (Melania) of Carlsbad, CA, Ted Rel (Lina) of Auburn, CA and Marianne McNeese (Jason) of Woodland, CA; 

He’s also survived grandchildren Trenton Stetson (Missy), Devon Parkins (Calvin), India Rel-McNeese, Quinn Rel, Radley Rel, Connor Rel, Ryle Rel, Diego Barragan, Maya McNeese, Valentina and Mateo Rel; great-grandchildren Brandon Parkins, Rhett Stetson, Luke Stetson and Annaleigh Parkins.

Dick’s survivors also include his siblings Dorothy Candelaria, Joe Rel, Luisa Fernandez, Blas Rel and Stella Lucerio; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Chamberlain Chapel is in charge of arrangements for Dick Rel.