Richard William Cahill, III, a long-time Los Altos resident, passed away peacefully on January 9, 2021 nearly two weeks after his 89th birthday, at Stanford Hospital. The cause of death was heart disease complicated by COVID-19. He fought a long battle against vascular dementia. Richard (Dick) was born in Utica, New York on December 30, 1931 to the late Richard William Cahill, II and Gertrude Irene Biel. After graduating from St. Francis de Sales high school in Utica, he attended Utica Tech and received a business degree. In 1952, he was drafted into the U.S. military and served in the Korean War before being honorably discharged in September, 1954. He served and participated in combat with the 1st squad, 3rd platoon, Item Company, 65th Infantry Regiment in the 3rd Infantry Division. After the war, he attended Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, graduating in 1958. He then went on to study at Purdue University where he earned his doctorate in chemistry in 1963. After graduation, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area of California to start his long career in the defense industry. He joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in Palo Alto as a physical chemist in 1963. As the Cold War winded down, he left Lockheed after nearly 30 years to begin a second career as a chemistry professor at various junior colleges, most notably at De Anza College for 18 years, with stints at both Evergreen and Mission Junior Colleges in the late 90’s through the early 2000s. He retired from teaching in 2012.
Richard is survived by his wife of 52 years Sandra Julin Cahill, and his children Richard (Kathryn), Steven, and Anne (Hunter), and grandchildren Creighton, Troy, and Scarlett. He is preceded in death by his siblings Beverly, William and Nancy. Richard enjoyed tennis, skiing, and numerous other sports. He was an avid history buff, particularly knowledgeable about World War II. He was a devout Catholic and a longtime member of both St. William’s and St. Simon’s parishes. He will be sorely missed. A private service will be held.
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