Dr. Richard Corey Eschenbach
Dr. Richard Corey Eschenbach, better known as Dick, died Aug. 16, 2018, at age 91.
He was predeceased by his wife, the former Julia Faulkner Hull, of Ukiah, Calif. and his daughters, Sherry Knight, of Gainesboro, Tenn. and Cathryn Zampa, of Butte Valley, Calif.
He is survived by his sons: Ted Eschenbach, of Anchorage, Alaska, Conrad Casler, of Tulsa, Okla. and Al Eschenbach, of Arroyo Grande, Calif.; and 16 grandchildren.
He moved to The Villages in San Luis Obispo in March 2014 from Ukiah.
Dick was born in Williamsport on April 9, 1927, to Albert Edgar Eschenbach (who served as the Williamsport Justice of the Peace and Chief of the Loyalsock Volunteer Fire Co.) and Cecilia Vivian (Corey). In high school he played the trumpet, was editor of the Cherry & White Yearbook, and one of his nicknames was “Sliderule” Eschenbach. He was a George Westinghouse Scholar at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he earned bachelor’s of science and master’s of science degrees in physics. Later he earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, specializing in combustion. While working in labs of Union Carbide, he earned 25 patents and another 3 patents while working with Retech in Ukiah, Calif.
Dick was a pioneer in industrial applications of plasma — using electrical energy to heat gases to temperatures of thousands of degrees. His patents and insight made it possible for 2-engine jets to rely on their jet turbine blades when they crossed oceans. His continuing contributions can be measured by his trip at age 86 to China to support use of plasma furnaces for treatment of radioactive wastes.
If you met Dick at bridge, at church, or at dinner, you soon realized that this quiet man would volunteer to be the choir director, to run a bridge league, to maintain a spreadsheet for the library, or to lead the successful effort for a new Somers, N.Y. library and park. He was dedicated to helping his family lead happy lives that contributed to others. He shared his love of our natural world with trips to the family cabin in Canada, to the lake in Brown County, Ind., and in family road trips that spanned states or the continent.
As much as he loved playing bridge, reading, and sipping a Manhattan, he could stop mid-sentence to heed the call of “Dick …” He taught us to put family first. His advice was always sound. He was always there. Even now at the end, he was showing us how to exit with grace and equanimity.
The memorial service will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, at Mt. Carmel Lutheran Church in San Luis Obispo. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Friends of the Ukiah Library, 105 N. Main Street, Ukiah, CA 95482.
Submitted by family.