Cover photo for Dr. Richard Heard, III's Obituary
1939 Dr. Richard 2022

Dr. Richard Heard, III

February 14, 1939 — November 2, 2022

Ocean Springs

Dr. Richard Willis Heard III passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, November 2, 2022, with friends and family by his side.

Richard Willis Heard III was born in Savannah, Georgia on February 14, 1939, to Richard Willis Heard II and Alice Riddle Read Heard.  He was a graduate of Savannah Country Day School (class of 1957) and attended the University of Georgia where he was a Sigma Chi Fraternity member and received his BS and MS degrees in Zoology. He received his PhD degree in Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1976.  In 2001, he married Pamela Lichtenberg of Long Beach, MS.  Richard was a research professor at Gulf Coast Research Laboratory for 35 years and remained an Emeritus Professor until his death.

Richard was the oldest of five children. As a child, he was filled with wonder and was fascinated with the marshes and critters around his childhood home, Wildwood.  He frequently took the boat out alone to go fishing.  He loved to read, fish, explore, and later, to play tennis.

Dr. Heard authored and co-authored over 165 publications dealing with marine invertebrates and fish, including the descriptions of a new family, new genera, and a variety of new species of stomatopods, mysids, cumaceans, tanaidaceans, isopods, amphipods and decapods. He worked with over fifty graduate students throughout his career.  Richard was involved with the identification of invertebrates collected from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts of the southeastern United States for more than 40 years.  He was most known for his tenacity and drive and for the work he did at Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. He was a quintessential field biologist and had a brilliant mind and incredible memory of the various species along the coastal marshes. He had an amazing ability to identify seemingly anything that existed in the coastal waters or marshes. He was world renowned in his field and has been honored over the years by having twenty-eight species named after him. Richard dedicated his life to the fields of marine science, and he never stopped learning and writing. His final scientific article was published on August 15, 2022.

Richard was a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ocean Springs, MS.  Professionally, he was a member of the American Society of Parasitologists, the Biological Society of Washington, The Crustacean Society, the Florida Benthological Society, the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, and the Mississippi Academy of Sciences.

Richard was always loving and kind.  His ideal life was to live with his family in his beloved cottage on Little Cumberland Island, GA.  Although, he did not make Little Cumberland his permanent home, he often visited with family, his lifelong friends from Savannah, and graduate students.

One of his greatest joys was singing to his young children.  Each child had the pleasure of hearing “oh the fox went out one chilly night”, among other selections as he lulled them to sleep.  He was a renaissance man.  He wrote poetry, short stories, and songs.  In addition to his scientific knowledge, he had great passion for the arts and encouraged music, art, and literature.  His home was filled with classical music.   He was a brilliant man who was also kind, humble, gentle, and loving.  He always encouraged others to “keep persevering”.   He was deeply loved and will be missed by family, friends, and students.

Richard was preceded in death by his father, Richard Willis Heard II, mother, Alice Riddle Read Heard, and his brother, John King Heard.

He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Pamela Lichtenberg Heard and their daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Heard of Ocean Springs, MS; son, Erik Richard Heard (Amanda) of  Manor, TX; daughter, Stacia Jeanne Heard Weed of Yorktown, VA; grandchildren, Theodore Richard Heard of Wharton, TX,  Maxwell Michael Weed and Connor Matthew Weed of Yorktown, VA, Xavier Patrick Heard and Averie Jane Graham of Manor, TX; siblings, Mary Sturdivant Heard DeGennaro (Pasquale) of Savannah, GA,  Keith Read Heard (Betty) of Savannah, GA, and Shelley Read Heard (Elise) of Huntsville, AL; Father-in-Law, Ralph E. Lichtenberg of Long Beach, MS; Brother-in-law and Sister-in-Law, Michael and Lynda Van Winkle of Biloxi, MS; Nieces Joanna Heard Suarez  (Adolfo) of Jefferson, GA and Marsha Read Heard (David Greenebaum) of Fayetteville, GA; and Nephews, Blake Van Winkle of Caret, VA, and Derek Van Winkle of Hattiesburg, MS; and numerous great nieces and nephews.

Visitation and a Reception will be held Monday, November 14, 2022, at St John’s Episcopal Church, 705 Rayburn Ave., Ocean Springs, MS in the Parish Hall beginning at 10:00 a.m.  The Funeral Service will immediately follow at 11:00 a.m. in the church sanctuary.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like to request gifts be made to the music program at St John’s Episcopal Church, Ocean Springs, MS in memory of Dr. Richard Willis Heard III.

Riemann Family Funeral Home, West Jackson County, is serving the family. The online guestbook may be signed and memories shared at www.riemannfamily.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Richard Heard, III, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Public Visitation

Monday, November 14, 2022

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

St. John's Episcopal Church

705 Rayburn Ave, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

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Funeral Service

Monday, November 14, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St. John's Episcopal Church

705 Rayburn Ave, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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