Richard Kay “Dick” Bingham was born on May 28th, 1931 to Richard and Euphrasia Foote Bingham. He had six siblings. A sister named Geneva and five brothers; Grant, Clifford, Norman, George and his fraternal twin Robert “Bob”. Dick was active from an early age playing hours on end outside near his home on 12th street in Safford. He learned the value of hard work early on helping his father in the family freighting business.
Dick was a standout athlete for Safford High School becoming a four-year letterman in Football and Track which was a rare feat. He was named to the Arizona All-State football team his senior year in 1950 and was honored by getting to play in the Arizona High School All-Star game that same year. He received a full scholarship to play football for Eastern Arizona College. Dick excelled enough to receive a full scholarship offer to play football for Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff but before he could attend the Korean War broke out and his destiny would change.
Dick and his twin brother Bob joined two other childhood friends and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. Dick and Bob spent four years in the Navy two of which were spent aboard the USS Mt. McKinley where they experienced combat in the Korean Peninsula. The last two years of their enlistment was spent on the Island of Guam where they were able to play football for the Naval Forces football team. The two were discharged on October 7th, 1954.
After returning home to Safford Dick met Mryna Rae Carnes and after a brief whirlwind romance the two decided to get married. The young couple made their home two blocks down the road from where Dick grew up near Lafe Nelson School. In 1955 they welcomed their first daughter Brenda. Three years later another girl Darlene was born. Five years after that their family was complete when they had a boy Robert “Scott”.
Dick spent the rest of his life in service to his community in numerous capacities including as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a member of the American Legion and the Elks Lodge. Dick loved being outdoors and was an avid hunter and competition shooter. Many days were spent camping with family on Mt. Graham which he absolutely loved.
One of the most important things in his life was the Safford Fire Department and the Fire service in general. He had a long and illustrious 32-year career as a volunteer firefighter including 8 years as Chief of the Department. He revolutionized the way volunteer firefighters all across the state trained and remained proficient in their skills. He traveled all around the state as a master trainer teaching fire science and fireground tactics to countless volunteer and career fire departments. Dick was a member of the Arizona State Fire School Training Committee and never missed an annual State Fire School. Dick was also blessed to have a long career as a State Deputy Fire Marshal serving Graham, Greenlee and Cochise counties. In 2008 he became just the 2nd volunteer firefighter ever to be inducted in the Arizona Fire Service Hall of Fame.
Dick is survived by his children Brenda Kay Moat (Dan Moat), Darlene Taylor (Tim Taylor) and Scott Bingham (Jolee Bingham) as well as 10 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.
Dick was preceded in death by his wife Mryna Rae Carnes Bingham as well as his parents and all of his siblings.
A viewing will be held on Friday, September 7, 2018 from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. at the McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel and again on Saturday morning at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Safford Stake Center beginning at 10:00 a.m. The funeral service will begin at 11:00 a.m. followed by the interment in the Safford Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel & Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at www.caldwellfuneralchapel.com.