Dick Herdeck #1494, retired Seattle Police Patrolman, passed away on March 2, 2017. He was 87 years of age upon passing.
Dick was born in Elmhurst, a suburb of Chicago. His father moved the family to Port Orchard in 1942 because his father got a job at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton during WWII. He worked on ships’ boilers. After the war, he moved the family to the Maple Leaf district in Seattle when he landed a job at the U of W’s steam plant maintaining boilers. Dick attended Roosevelt High School where he first met his future wife. After school hours, he worked in a gas station. When he graduated, he continued to work at various gas stations until he got a teller’s job at Bank of America. Then the Korean War came along. Dick and his friends decided to join the Marines. But Dick could not get off early from the bank. The Marine recruiting station was closed by the time Dick arrived. However, his friends had made it – they were Marines. Dick then joined the Army. Its recruiting station was still open. He got the last laugh, his friends ended up in Korea at the frozen Chosin Reservoir Campaign, while he was stationed in Germany as an MP. There, he met Duane Moe #2096. Dick was discharged in 1953 and returned to Seattle.
Dick was hired by the Department as a Provisional Patrolman in January 1954. Two weeks later, he was made a regular when Civil Service sent over the final paperwork. Frank Moore #1015 was one of Dick’s training officers at Wallingford. One day while driving in the Roosevelt District, Dick saw Beatty Jeanne, his high school sweetheart. He pulled over. They got reacquainted and in October of 1954, they married.
On the night of July 21, 1955, Dick went out to eat. He left Radio the restaurant’s telephone number. There were no portables in those days. So, Dick’s neighboring district car got the prowler call in his district. His Academy mate, Officer Brizendine #1478 responded. He was accidentally shot by a citizen who mistook Officer Brizendine for the prowler and fatally shot him. Dick always believed this could have been his fate if the busy restaurant hostess would have answered Radio’s phone call.
Dick was transferred to the Central Precinct to work West, both as a car officer and later as a beatman. In 1961 his old Army buddy Duane Moe, joined the Department. They partnered up for several years and were neighbors. Their children played together. In 1962, Dick protected Elvis Presley during the filming of “It Happened at the World’s Fair”. Between shooting the scenes, they would play bridge together. During the 1963 Seafair season, while working traffic control at a community fair, Dick was struck by a car. He was knocked over the top of the car, sustaining injuries that would plague him the rest of his career, both on and off duty. In 1969, Dick was the street training officer for Mike Severance #2866, and walked him through his first felony arrest – an in-progress burglary with three suspects.
Dick was an excellent handyman. He could build anything and took up restoring old vintage cars. He once told his two daughters, “Pounding on cars keeps me sane.” This proved to be true when one day his daughters backed into each other while driving his restored cars. He just sighed and grabbed his dent hammer and began beating on, not his daughters, but on the damaged cars. Some of the cars Dick restored were a 1937 Cord Sportsman Convertible – only 135 were made, 1932 Packard Light Eight Coupe, 1941 Lincoln Continental V12 (last one made before WWII,) and a 1936 Ford Roadster.
In 1980, his on duty injuries forced Dick to leave the job before he wished. He liked working at Mounted. He retired with 26 years of service. In retirement, he and his wife went to swap meets here and vacationed in Palm Springs, California. He continued to remodel their Seattle home. Betty Jeanne passed away in 2009. The next year, Dick and his grandson Steve found a 1941 Cadillac Convertible. It required three years of painstaking work to prep it for the auto shows. When Dick was 84, the car was entered in three shows. It won “Best of Show” in each. It won four more over the years. Today, grandson Steve has the car.
Dick is survived by his two daughters, Kathryn and Karen, and grandson Steve.