Richard A. DeSenna, age 92, peacefully passed away Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at his home in Elkhart with his loving wife and daughter by his side.
Richard was born on August 27, 1928 in Sussex, New Jersey to Dora and Abel DeSenna. He spent his early years on his grandfather’s, Horace Sturdevant, dairy farm, where he learned his extra-ordinary work ethic. Upset that he was too young to join the military when World War II broke out, he enlisted in the US Army on August 28, 1946, the day after his birthday and served in Trieste, Italy.
Richard began his life-long, amazing career in enzymes at Takamine Laboratories in Clifton, New Jersey, starting in the shipping department and working his way up to plant manager. After Miles Laboratories bought Takamine, Richard was transferred to Elkhart, Indiana in1980 where he was instrumental in building the Miles Enzyme Plant. He retired from Miles/ Bayer in 1990 as Vice President of the Enzyme Division. Richard then moved back to New Jersey where he founded Deerland Enzymes and eventually moved to Marietta, Georgia. He married Joyce Moore on July 1, 2000, and continued working with Deerland Enzymes, establishing an enzyme plant in Kennesaw, Georgia. He retired from Deerland, now known as Deerland Probiotics and Enzymes in 1988.
He thoroughly enjoyed target shooting with the Ridgewood Pistol Club in New Jersey, doing woodworking and always loved to fish, whether at his lake home on Lake George in New York or on Lake Petit in Big Canoe, Georgia, where he and Joyce lived for several years before moving back to Elkhart. He was known as a “snappy” dresser, always in his favorite Orvis clothes, of which he had a vast collection.
Richard was always known as one of the nicest, kindest, most optimistic men one would ever meet. He endured many years struggling with Parkinson’s Disease, never complaining. His family wishes to give a special thanks to Heartland hospice, without whose help during the last few months would have been almost impossible. He will be dearly missed.
Richard is survived by his wife of 20 years, Joyce; children, Donna (Paul Reid) Walker of Atlanta, GA, and Patricia (Jim) Bialek of San Diego, CA; step daughter, Jennifer Foy of Elkhart; grandchildren, Katelyn (Evan) White, Megan Walker, Lisa (Scott) Owen, Traci (Mike) Sutter, Nick Pooler, Tyler (Kayla) Tubbs, Allison Melenia and Brenden (Ariel) Wright; great-grandchildren, Dallas and Lee White, Monroe and Everett Pooler, Delila, Millie, Emily, Lilian and Luca Wright, Charlie and Will Owen, Campbell and Scotty Owen and his good friend, Dale Melenia. Richard was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, James DeSenna.
Friends may visit with family from 1-2pm Saturday, March 27, 2021 at Stemm-Lawson-Peterson Funeral Home, 1531 Cobblestone Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46514 where funeral services will be held at 2pm. Rev. Phillip Keller will officiate. Visitation will be from 11 am -12pm on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at Pinkel Funeral Home, 31 Bank Street, Sussex, New Jersey 07461 where funeral services will be held at 12 pm. Burial will follow at Beemerville Cemetery in Wantage, New Jersey with military honors. Memorial donations may be made to Heartland Hospice, 230 West Catalpa Drive, Unit D, Mishawaka, IN 46545 or www.heartlandhospice.com Online condolences may be made to the DeSenna family at www.stemmlawson-peterson.com
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