Richard Padilla Orozco
Richard Padilla Orozco
February 19, 1947 - May 7, 2020
Services for Richard Orozco will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at Community Christian Fellowship. A graveside service will follow at Union Chapel Cemetery, Smith County. (Please note that the attendance will be limited due to Covid-19 guidelines inside the church.)
Richard was born February 19, 1947 in Phoenix, Arizona, the youngest of 7 boys. His birth was unusually difficult due to the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, but his faith-filled mother would not allow the medical staff to take his life in order to save hers. They both survived. There were some extra challenges due to birth as a “blue baby,” but he overcame them with solid determination and an amazing work ethic. His “never quit” attitude began at a very young age.
At 13, he began washing dishes at a local restaurant. His culinary gifting began to shine as time went on, and cleaning up was replaced with creating. In time, he worked under world-class chef C. Orby Anderson, who became a friend and mentor. Richard followed him to California at the age of 17 to continue working with him. Along the way he earned a black belt in Judo, and at one time aimed to be part of the U.S. Olympic team. He also became a Judo instructor at Cal Poly, something he enjoyed a great deal.
It was during these years that he married Catalina Castillo, and became a father. Richard Jr. was born in 1970, and Teresa followed in 1971.
The 1980s marked the acceleration of his career to the position of Executive Chef at three renowned resorts in Southern California, and his marriage to Diane Watson. Diane’s two children, Marguerite and Evan, called him “Pop.” But the most important event of these years was the beginning of a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
In 1987, an opportunity arose to go through training with Youth With A Mission at Twin Oaks Ranch in Lindale, Texas. In time, Richard was running the kitchen and Diane was handling the accounts and ordering. Richard loved working with the dedicated young people who served in the kitchen, often mentoring them along the way. In 1991, he and Diane continued in these same roles at Last Days Ministries. Many precious and enduring relationships developed during these years.
When their time at Last Days Ministries had concluded, they founded Latin America Missions. Multiple trips were made to Mexico, during which they supported the ministries of others in any possible way. A highlight for Richard was hiking into a remote area to minister to the Huichol Indians. Later, they made many lengthy trips to the Philippines, again serving indigenous ministries in both practical and spiritual ways.
Through the sale of their home in California, Richard and Diane were able to invest in rental properties in Garden Valley and Tyler. This supported their ministry efforts, and provided a ministry outlet of its own. Richard loved the folks who rented from them, and helped quite a few of them find properties of their own. His investment in others often took a practical turn.
A terminal lung disease diagnosis came in late 2019, but Richard wasn’t about to quit. Though brokenhearted over Diane’s death in January of 2020, he chose to look forward to development projects and a possible lung transplant. God took him home instead, where the cuisine is out of this world, and the projects are beyond imagination. How he must be enjoying both!
He is survived by two brothers, Danny and Bobby; his four children, Richard Jr., Teresa, Marguerite, and Evan; and six grandchildren: Dylan, Taylor Nicole, Benni Ann, Joshua, Abigail, and Ian.