Richard A. Jaqua, MD

Richard JaquaRichard Allen Jaqua, MD, 78, died Monday, July 26, 2016 in Sioux Falls after a long battle with progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Richard was born on April 15, 1938, son of Franklin and Esther Jaqua in Fort Dodge, IA and lived his childhood and K-12 years in Humboldt, IA. He graduated Yale University in 1960 magna cum laude and Harvard Medical School in 1965 taking one year out to study pathology and develop skills in Electron Microscopy. The next 5 years were spent in training for his career in pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Maryland, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in NY. While at NIH, Richard met his future wife, Mary Jo Stewart and they were married on December 29, 1969 in New York City.

In 1970 Richard followed two of his mentors (Karl H. Wegner, MD and John F. Barlow, MD) from MGH returning to his Midwestern roots and settling in Sioux Falls to practice Pathology for 32 years with the Laboratory of Clinical Medicine and University of South Dakota School of Medicine. During those years he became Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and taught Sophomore Pathology and Pathology Residents. There was a question in his mind whether his southern bride would transplant to the harsh SD winters, but she did.

Those 32 years of practice brought many honors culminating with USD Emeritus Professor appointment on retirement in 2002 and The USD Sanford School of Medicine Centennial Teacher Award for Distinguished Service in Medical Education in 2007. He was instrumental in developing 3 very technical specialty clinical and research laboratories in the state – Electron Microscopy (EM), Virology (Sioux Falls and Rapid City) and Genetics. His specialty was Renal Pathology using EM, immunofluorescence and clinical information to assist nephrologists in renal case management.

In 1974, Richard and Mary Jo moved to a large acreage NE of Canton. With his bright, creative, academic and innovative mind and mechanical skills Richard took on “farming” (never having been on a tractor) on their home place. He continued his passion for Amateur (Ham) Radio (WBøCKN) with a large tower built and various antennae surrounding the house. He supported Therapy Dog International (TDI), was a 2nd handler for 2 of their German Shepherd therapy dogs and “official” photographer for TDI testing events. He received great pleasure watching and studying prairie flora and fauna on the “farm”. He was also an avid runner. He lived his life with love and devotion for family, his students and residents cherishing what he could teach them and what he could learn from them. He was always studying and learning and devouring knowledge in so many areas of his interest.

Richard’s family is grateful for his love and having shared his life. Surviving him are his wife of 46 years Mary Jo, sister-in-law Jan P. Jaqua Humboldt, IA, brother-in-law Gilbert W. (Pete) Stewart (Astrid Schmidt-Nielson) Washington, DC, nieces, Kathryn Jaqua (Phoenix), Sarah Kallsen (Ames, IA), Susan Albers (Timothy) Baldwyn, MS and Laura Stewart (Bryce Hurst) Atlanta; nephews: John F. Jaqua IV Phoenix and Michael Stewart Atlanta, great nieces and nephews Emily Piskulick, Joseph and Elizabeth Kallsen, Benjamin, Sarah and Andrew Albers and Bryce and Lydia Hurst and very special cousins and friends. Richard was preceded in death by his parents and brother John F. Jaqua.

Memorial service will be at 1:30pm Saturday, July 30 at Halladay-Peterson Chapel at Dow Rummel Village with the family present one hour prior to the service. Celebrants of Richard Jaqua’s life are invited to a Reception at Dow Rummel following the service. Certified therapy dogs from Therapy Dogs International, Chapter 200, Sioux Falls will be present before and at the service. Inurnment Service will be in Humboldt, IA at a future date.

Memorials (in lieu of flowers) may be directed to Feeding South Dakota, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Dow Rummel Halladay-Peterson Chapel Fund, Sanford USD School of Medicine/Department of Laboratory Medicine or charity of your choice.

Published in The Argus Leader from July 27 to July 28, 2016