Date of Birth: October 27, 1963
Date of Death: March 15, 2019
Richard Sawitskas, Age 55, passed away peacefully at home on March 15, 2019. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Kathy. Former husband of Chrissy Latham. Loving father to Michael Sawitskas and Danielle Rodgers. Father-in-law to Coy Rodgers. Grandfather of Dean, Emma, Abby and Everett (on-the-way). Brother of Kurt (Elaine) Sawitskas, Keith (Debbie) Sawitskas, John Sawitskas and Jennie (Russ) Day. Further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. Preceded in death by Kim Herrington (sister), Richard Dean Sawitskas (father) and Jeanne Sawitskas (mother). Rich was an avid dirt bike rider and motorcycle enthusiast. He took his passion for motorcycles and created a career by first attending MMI (Motorcycle Mechanics Institute) in 1990. One of his first jobs after graduating from MMI was at a Honda dealership where he said, “They let him change a tire once in awhile.” After a few other jobs, he went to work for White Brother’s as a Suspension Technician, which then led to careers at KTM North America as an Import Manager, Factory Connection, MX Tech, which brought him and his family back to Phoenix and to creating his own business, RKS Suspension Specialties. He returned to his roots by becoming an instructor at MMI, which he said he really enjoyed. He stated that his work as an instructor for MMI led him to want to create his own YouTube channel (Uncle Rico's Garage) showing others how to build different parts of a motorcycle. After several years as an instructor, Rich switched to the automotive side of the company and worked for UTI (Universal Technical Institute) until his death. In his spare time, Rich rode dirt bikes with brothers Keith and John and won multiple AVDRA championships, advancing in his skill levels from Novice in 2011/12 to Intermediate in 2012/13 to Expert in 2019. He also won the motorcycle version of the Iron Man Competition for 2012/13. In addition to his passion for motorcycles, he was also a fan of the original Batman television series, the Batman movies and lately, had been watching the series Gotham, which he enjoyed with his son Mike. In addition to television, Rich enjoyed music, with his favorite band being KISS. We may even have a picture of him dressed as Gene Simmons for Halloween! Rich was an enthusiastic pro football fan (Go Kansas City Chiefs!). Rich’s passion for football also led him to coach Pop Warner football and his team was undefeated for the season. Rich was nostalgic for the past and purchased a Shalako, which was a kit car created by his dad, Richard "Dick Dean" Sawitskas in the 60's. Together, with his brother Keith, Rich restored the Shalako to its former glory. Rich was a brave warrior, never letting cancer disrupt his passion for the things he loved. He lived his life to the fullest, completing one last motorcycle race one month before he passed away. He is a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. To Rich we say, “Well done, well done, my beloved child, you have run the race and now you’re home.”
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 30, 2019 at Best Funeral Services, Inc., West Valley Chapel, 9380 W. Peoria Ave., Peoria, AZ 85345 from 2:00-3:00pm followed by a Celebration of Life reception from 3:30 – 7:30pm at the Community Room at Arrowhead Towne Center Mall, 7700 W. Arrowhead Towne Center, Glendale AZ 85308.