In Remembrance: Richard H. Ekfelt ’71 Died on January 10 2021

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Dick Ekfelt died unexpectedly on January 10, 2021, after a brief illness.  Dick lived in Falls Church, Virginia, for the last 36 years of his life, but the Midwest never left this tall slender Nebraskan. His natural warmth, his friendly, open disposition, and his innate kindness charmed all who met him.  Dick also had a healthy dose of Midwestern skepticism and stubborn resolve and a wry, irreverent humor tucked into that sweet persona.  

Dick was born and raised in Omaha and graduated from Omaha North High in 1967.  During his Nebraska childhood, Dick was steeped in sports culture.  His dad Vernon Ekfelt was a high school biology teacher, but first and foremost a coach—the first high school wrestling coach to be named to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.  It is no surprise that at 11 years old, Dick was a Nebraska state wrestling champ.

In his journey through life he attended Yale University, where he was delighted to play shortstop and second base on the Yale varsity baseball team, “a veritable vacuum cleaner around the keystone,” according to the school press, and where he was honored to be a member of Skull and Bones.  He graduated from Yale in 1971 and completed his education with a JD at the University of Virginia Law School in 1974.

Dick loved words.  He loved Scrabble and crossword puzzles.  He loved to write and was a fierce and unforgiving editor of all his children’s papers throughout their schooling.  After a career as a lawyer and then trade association executive, he immersed himself in words as a freelance editor and was never so happy.

Dick loved Nebraska Football.  GO BIG RED.   He loved baseball and, especially in recent years, the Nats.  AND: he loved to play golf almost more than anything.

But, more than anything he loved his wife Sally, his daughter Mikki, and his two sons, Charlie and Joey.  He married these boys along with Sally in 1986. They were a package deal—all three—and he never ran screaming from the house—not once—especially not after Mikki arrived in 1988, completing his family.

Dick is survived by his wife, Sally Ekfelt of Falls Church, Virginia; his daughter Mikki Clayton and son-in-law Zach of Park City, Utah; his sons Charlie Mize and Joe Moore and daughter-in-law Deanna of Centreville, Virginia; his beloved brother Dan Ekfelt of Omaha, Nebraska; and sister Kelly Kessler of Laguna Hills, California.

His wife, sons, daughter, family, and friends plan to celebrate the life of this beloved and loving man with bright blue Nordic eyes and a generous heart when gathering is safe again—to be determined. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to INOVA Neuroscience and Spine Institute at

—Submitted by the family.

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