Dr. Richard William (Dick) Loring, 90, passed away peacefully in his home on Friday, June 7, 2019 following an extended illness. Born May 26, 1929 in the Bronx, NY, he was the son of William M. and Jeannette Bass Loring. After high school, Dick enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to HQ Company of the War Dept. at Fort Myer South Post, Virginia, and served in the office of the Chief of Staff at the Pentagon. Following his service, Dick attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and graduated in 1952. When at DePauw, Dick was a member of Men’s Hall Association and Duzer Du, the honorary drama organization. In 1954, Dick received a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from Indiana University. Later education included a PhD in Psychology from Columbia Pacific University in 1982.
Dick started his career working as a psychiatric social worker at Richmond State Hospital in Richmond, Indiana, and in 1957 he accepted the position as Assistant Director of the Tippecanoe County Mental Health Center, in Lafayette, Indiana. In 1962, Dick and his family relocated to the Oil City area when he was chosen to be the first director of the Venango County Mental Health Center. In 1969, he accepted the additional role as the first administrator of the Venango, Warren, Clarion, and Forest Counties Mental Health/Mental Retardation Authority. Leaving those positions in 1971, Dick founded and was the first director of the Venango Human Services Center, one of the first centers of its type that housed 17 health, education, and social agencies, where he remained until 1975. From 1974-1976, he acted as the Director of Consultation and Education of the Erie County Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in Erie, Pennsylvania, leaving that position in 1976 to join J. B. Johnston, M.D., in private practice in Oil City. Dick also later practiced in a behavioral health capacity with the Venango Internal Medicine Association until his retirement.
Dick had a passion for learning, and this translated into many teaching roles. In the late 1960s, he shared his expertise when he taught Psychology at the Oil City Hospital School of Nursing and Psychology for Nursing Students at Pennsylvania State University. He also developed and taught a Mental Health Module at Venango Christian High School between years of 1964-1971. Additionally, he held part-time faculty positions at Clarion University and Gannon University and served as a field instructor for the College of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh from 1967-1973.
From 1971-1974, Dick was a communications consultant for a special project in group dynamics with the U.S. Army Corps of Chaplains. Beginning in 1986, he was contracted by the Veterans Administration to be Senior Therapist with the VA Vietnam Vets Outreach Program, working with veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), in which he took great pride.
In addition to his career accomplishments, Dick was active in multiple professional organizations. From 1964-1973, Dick was the Executive Secretary of Psychiatric Outpatient Centers of America (POCA). He also served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee for the Pennsylvania Mental Health Association between 1967-1977. In 1971, Dick served as delegate on the Task Force on Education for the first White House Conference for the Aging in Washington, DC. In the same year, he was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Drug Abuse in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and in 1975 was a delegate at the National Conference on Mental Health in San Diego, California.
In 2006, Dick was honored as a recipient of the Venango County MH/MRSAP (Mental Health/Mental Retardation Substance Abuse Program) Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Service.
While attending college, Dick met Janet Teetor; they married on August 22, 1953. She preceded him in death in April 2018 just shy of celebrating 65 years of marriage. Survivors include two sons, Steven and his wife, Meredith, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, David and his wife, Sherrill, of Atlanta, Georgia, and a daughter, Lynne Socash and her husband, Joel, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Jason Loring and his wife, Julie, of Atlanta, Georgia, Sarah, Rachel, and Leah Loring all of Atlanta, Georgia, and Hannah and Jeffrey Socash of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Three great-grandchildren Oliver, Eleanor, and Louise Loring of Atlanta, Georgia, also survive. A sister-in-law, Sue T. Close, of Santa Rosa, CA, survives along with nieces and nephews. A brother, Robert D. Loring, preceded him in death in 2008.
Arrangements are being handled by Reinsel Funeral Home & Crematory in Oil City. Memorial donations may be sent to AseraCare Hospice, 1600 Peninsula Drive, Suite 14, Erie, PA 16505. The family also acknowledges the steadfast devotion of the caregivers that also made it possible for Dick to remain in the comfort of his own home until his passing.
A memorial service will be held at the family’s convenience.
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