Richard James Walz died at the age of 59 of an apparent heart attack while camping with his family at Utah’s Strawberry Reservoir on August 6, 2022. Rick was born in Canoga Park, California to John Walz and Lu Jean Johnson Walz, the youngest of 4 children. After high school in California he moved to Utah and attended what is now Utah Valley University where he studied business. He served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Rome, Italy from 1982-1984.
Rick married Manuela Evangelista Padula, whom he had met and baptized in Rome, in the Salt Lake Temple on December 1, 1984. They had two children, Tiffany and Alexander. They later divorced in 1991. Rick married Terri Kranendonk in 1997, they divorced in 2007.
Rick was an amazing salesman and worked in direct sales management with Laidlaw International and U.S West in Utah, and Cox Communication where he was the Vice President over Media Sales in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was a mentor to many people that he met in his professional career and a great friend to even more. He was later diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s in 2016. After taking disability retirement he moved back to Utah, sold the family home in Draper, and he and his son Alex built a home on the shore of Utah Lake in Saratoga Springs. Rick especially loved the beautiful view that they had in their backyard. He enjoyed spending time with his son, daughter in-law but most of all, his granddaughters who absolutely adored him. He loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing, boating and motorcycle racing. He was a gourmet cook and always joked about the over salting of his food was due to shakes from Parkinson’s. To overcome the depression caused by his Parkinson’s medication, Rick built a desert race truck at night in his garage with the hope of racing in the Mint 400 Desert Race to raise money to fight Parkinson’s. He had no idea how to work on a car engine, let alone a race truck, but in true Rick fashion, he found a way to build a running race truck that was loud enough to set off car alarms all while battling through his Parkinson’s diagnosis. He joined the Sidewinder Race Team in 2016, but a broken down truck prevented him from racing, a goal he pursued until the time of his death.
Rick was preceded in death by his parents, John and Lu Jean Walz, stepfather Gordon Bench, brother-in-law Dale Bentley, sister Debra Bentley and his dog Niiko and Nash. He is survived by his daughter Tiffany Walz, granddaughters Tabitha and Kate, his son Alexander Walz (Lexie), granddaughters Mila, Tenley and Gracee, his sister Susan Mortensen (Bob), and brother Robert Walz (Michelle). He is also survived by his former wives and loyal companion, TJ Parkes.
Family and friends will celebrate Rick’s life on Saturday, August 13 at 11:00 a.m. at the Anderson & Goff Mortuary, 11859 S. 700 E., Draper, Utah. Following cremation, interment will take place at the Alpine City Cemetery at a later date.
Rick will truly be missed by all and we all look forward to the day when we will see him again.