Richard Wayne Saiser
Richard Wayne Saiser died May 26, 2022, at the age of 79, from natural causes and had been a resident of New Mexico since January 1981, and Albuquerque since May 1984. He is predeceased in death by his beloved companion, William P. Reust , “Bill,” with whom he shared his life and heart for 42 years. Richard’s life was enriched by many friends: Gaston C. Maurin of Dallas, TX; Josh H. Stroman of Richmond, TX; Paul Seals and Paul Arthur of Los Lunas, NM; David Crawford and Lee
Laney of Albuquerque,
NM; plus Richard
Van Steenburg of Albuquerque and Pegg Macy of Albuquerque. He was especially close, in later life, to his Aunt LaDene (Nelson) Weaver (who predeceased him) and her kids: Valeria Lewkowski, Rozetta Weston, and William Weaver, and their spouses and children, all of Cheyenne, WY. In Oklahoma, he was very fond of his Aunt LaHoma (Nelson) McAlister in Oklahoma City, his Aunt Neta (Nelson) Bryant (who predeceased him) and her son Donald Ray Bryant and his family near Sasakwa, OK, and his Uncle Pete Nelson (who predeceased him) and wife LaJanta (who predeceased him) and their kids: Sharon, Cleburne (“Sonny”) and Jim, and their spouses, who all live near Davis, Oklahoma.
Richard was born 7 Feb. 1943 in Oklahoma City, to Ann E. (Annie Elnora Nelson) and Christian C. Saiser. His family moved to Denver, Colorado, when he was seven, then to Pueblo, Colorado, when he was halfway through the ninth grade. He graduated Central High School in June 1961. After his freshman year at Pueblo Junior College, he joined the Peace Corps in July 1962 and spent two years as a Volunteer doing urban community development in the Republic of Colombia (Colombia III CARE Peace Corps Project) . In June 1967, Richard graduated Colorado State University with a BA in Modern Languages and also received an Air Force ROTC commission as a second-lieutenant. He spent two years at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and two years in Vietnam, leaving the service in June 1971 with the rank of captain. His last six months in VN were spent in the right seat of an 0-2, part of a forward air control squadron (Tilley FACs / Rustic FACs) calling in air strikes on Cambodian targets. He spoke to the Cambodian positions in French and told his pilot where the Cambodian soldiers wanted an air strike. It was the most exciting time of his life. He received five Air Medals for his aerial combat, and from the Republic of Vietnam, the Medal of Honor Second Class. In the years to follow, he came to believe that giving up a career in the Air Force was the biggest career mistake of his life, but it was also his best decision for personal happiness. In 2011, he joined The American Legion, becoming a member of NM Dept. Post no. 13, in Albuquerque.
After the Air Force, he spent the rest of the decade of the 70’s in Arlington, Texas. Mr. Saiser spent one year working on a master’s degree in Spanish and serving as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Arlington, but decided to switch to bilingual education (at Texas Woman’s University); then he became a bilingual kindergarten teacher in the Dallas School District. In the summer of 1980, after four years in the classroom and struggling through two years of double-digit inflation on a teacher’s salary, he took the civil service examination. In November, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) offered him a position as a security background investigator working out of the OPM office in Los Alamos, New Mexico, beginning January 2, 1981. Cutbacks in federal employment eliminated Mr. Saiser’s position, effective December 31. But, he decided to remain in New Mexico because he had met Bill Reust, his twin soul, 17 October 1981, and realized that the best part of his life was about to begin.
Richard and Bill shared their passion for
motorcycling and camping out under the starry skies of New Mexico and Colorado. Richard also indulged his lifelong passion for photography much to the delight, and sometimes dismay, of all his friends and acquaintances. He always had a camera with him. He and Bill joined the
Motorcyclemen of New Mexico (MNM) in 1982, and his photos chronicled 15 years of MNM events both at the club’s home bar, the Albuquerque Social Club, and at camp-out events in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. Richard’s photo collection included a fascinating view of gay life in Albuquerque during the decades of 1980 and 1990, a very detailed record of his personal life (both gay and straight), and a valuable photographic record of his mother’s family in Oklahoma and Wyoming. In the mid-1990s, Richard and Bill dropped out of the gay social scene and began morphing into a typical, happily married, “old” couple, like most of their friends and family. Everyone who met him enjoyed his sense of humor and intelligence. He was also a very good cook, but Bill was better.
In March, 2002, Mr. Saiser retired from seventeen years of service with the New Mexico Osteopathic Medical Association (NMOMA). During that time, he also helped in the creation of the New Mexico Foundation for Osteopathic Education, which established an osteopathic residency in Family Practice at UNM School of Medicine. His background of service to the osteopathic community was not lost with his retirement. In October 2003, Governor Bill Richardson appointed Mr. Saiser to fill out a Public Member position on the New Mexico Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NMBOME), then re-appointed him to a five-year term as of August 2005.
He finally left the board in December 2012, after 11 years of service to the people of New Mexico. Although he received no recognition for his service, he was very proud of his years on the NMBOME.
He firmly believed in reincarnation and looked forward to another chance “to get it right.”
Richard will be interred at the Santa Fe National Cemetary on July 1st, at 9:30 am
Published by on Jun. 19, 2022.
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