James Richard “Rick” Chancy died Friday, February 26, 2021 at the age of 76, knowing he was loved and ready to rest.
Born in Phillips, Texas in 1944 to Sybil Aileen and Phillip Donald Chancy, Rick’s wit and roguery were immediately apparent. He protected and tormented his sisters, Judith Kaye and Karen Sue, in equal parts, but always with a hug and laugh at the end. His heart for others was on display early, serving as the state President of the Methodist Youth fellowship and giving guest sermons in western Oklahoma as a teenager. At 17, he became the youngest person ever to address the UN General Assembly, speaking on the ecumenical movement.
Rick served in the Army Special Forces, Green Beret, from 1966-1972. He rarely spoke of that period in his life, aside from regaling his children with stories of night jumps and survival camps. However, in later years he shared that he indeed saw combat during classified rescue missions. Rick served at a time in history when soldiers were not welcomed back with open arms, and he felt strongly that no matter politics everyone should embrace those risking their lives for country. And while he loved America, his love for his fellow service men and women was even greater.
Rick received a nursing degree from Tulsa Junior College in 1973. For more than 40 years, Rick served the patients at St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa. Over the years, Rick worked as a surgical nurse and the supervisor of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. No matter his role, he cared for his patients and their families with tireless respect and empathy. His distinguished nursing career was among his proudest accomplishments.
Married to Patty Chancy from 1973 to 1997, Rick raised three children with levity, quiet discipline and dozens of memorable camping trips. Life in those days was unassuming yet full. Rick was handy - building the family deck, a bunk bed and playhouse - but most of all he built lasting bonds. Deeply loyal, he would be the first to show up and last to leave when someone had a need. A man of few words, he showed his love through service.
Longtime friends, Rick shared his love and later years with Margaret Petrilla. Always the papa bear, Rick embraced Margaret’s daughters- Laura, Michele and Jennifer - and their families as his own.
Rick is preceded in death by his parents, Phillip and Sybil Chancy, sister Kaye Boroughs and son-in-law Shahram Banki. He is survived by his sister Karen Young, children Shannon Banki, Seth Ueland Chancy and Sarah Carson, daughter-in-law Siri Ueland Chancy, son-in-law Eric Carson, and grandchildren Jahan Banki, Erik Ueland Chancy, Kayvon Banki, Natalia Ueland Chancy and Nora Carson.
Far from perfect, Rick’s authenticity won the hearts of those who knew him – family, of course, esteemed colleagues, friends and the waitresses at his favorite hot-spot, Duffy’s. Even his hospice nurse, Jen, said that Rick “gobbled up her heart,” along with an apple danish and chocolate pudding. His love for sweets was infamous, as were his ice-cream (mixing) bowls.
Rick loved camping, the open road, family barbeques, the blues, fall football and reading military fiction. He could be stubborn but always seemed to have a glean of mischief in his eyes. He had a soft spot for babies and was famous for his daddy wraps. His sense of humor was irreverent and groan-inducing but never mean-spirited. While he couldn’t get through a joke without dissolving into a quiet belly-shaking laughter, he always managed to hit the punchline with perfect timing, and his humor is what his family and friends will always remember most about him.
He may be gone, but his dark humor, sense of service and appreciation for the finer things in life, like a freshly-grilled hamburger or comfortable silence, will live on in his children, grandchildren and all who knew and couldn’t help loving him.
Rick’s life will be celebrated at 2pm on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, during a private service for family at Arrow Heights Baptist Church and online for friends and family who are unable to attend. Live stream may be viewed at https://vimeo.com/518743280 .
In lieu of flowers, please donate to a local organization benefiting homeless veterans.