Richard “Rick” William Papp, 52, husband of Kathi Papp, passed away at his home in Yucca Valley surrounded by family at 8:45 a.m. on April 17, 2019, due to complications resulting from his lengthy battle with cancer.
Rick was born in Frankfort, Indiana, and graduated from high school in Elk Rapids, Michigan. A graduate of Ball State University, Rick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education and then traveled across the country when he landed a teaching job with the Morongo Unified School District in Southern California, where he taught at Oasis Elementary School for 22 years.
Rick was an avid sports fan and loved football, basketball, baseball, boxing and golf. Rick was known to travel near and far to attend Major League Baseball games and concerts, especially those of his favorite bands, Phish and The Grateful Dead. He was also a passionate dog lover and will be missed by his beloved rescue dog, Missy. He was a philanthropic supporter of the ACLU, the Democratic National Committee, the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, the ASPCA and many local animal shelters in the area.
His amazing life is celebrated by his mother and father, Jan and Randy Papp, of Bellaire, Michigan; brother Heath Papp, of Palm Desert, and nephew Brycen; maternal grandmother Maxine Innis, of Indiana, and paternal grandmother Jean Papp, of Michigan.
He will be most lovingly remembered by his wife, Kathi Papp, of Yucca Valley. Rick was blessed with five children by marriage: Dallas Bessette (Sandy Le), Nick Bessette (Kelsie), Kristin Bessette, Shelby Moffitt (Matt) and Daniel Bessette. He is survived by eight grandchildren: Jivan, Ezekiel, Ison, Annika, Kiana, Cameron, Giselle and Tatiana.
Rick also is remembered by his father-in-law, William Swenson (Diana Larson); sisters-in-law, Debra Kelley and Tracy Rudin (Doug); brother-in-law, Todd Swenson (Karen); nieces and nephews by marriage; five cousins: Jenny, David, Cassidy, Lara, and Tyler; the Bessette family; a host of former students whose lives he touched forever; and a wealth of loving friends scattered across the country.
Rick was well loved by his late grandfathers, Frank Innis and Edward Papp, his beloved late sister-in-law, Tammy Papp (Heath and Brycen), and his late mother-in-law, Jacqueline Swenson.
As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to the Oasis Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization or any of the local animal shelters. Both causes were dear to Rick’s heart. The family would like to thank the medical teams, especially those at UCLA Medical Center, that treated Rick during his long illness and Katie Tonks and her family for the gift of life with her liver transplant donation in 2013.
An informal “Papp Style” celebration of life will be held at a later date.