Cover photo for Richard Willis Tavis's Obituary
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1936 Richard 2023

Richard Willis Tavis

May 21, 1936 — June 30, 2023

Albert Lea

Richard Willis Tavis, 87, of Albert Lea, MN, passed away peacefully on June 30, 2023, at his home with his loving family by his side.
Richard was born in Albert Lea, MN, on May 21, 1936, to Willis and Cleo (Beaver) Tavis.  He attended Albert Lea schools, graduating in 1954.  Following his graduation, he attended Austin Area Vocational Technical Institute for a short while before deciding to enter the workforce.
His career began in 1955, working as a machinist for the Albert Lea Tribune, and continued until his retirement in 1988.
On April 7, 1957, he married his true love and high school sweetheart, Phyllis Jenson, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, MN. They continued to make Albert Lea their home, where they raised their two children, Gary and Kay. In 1961, Richard and Phyllis built their dream home, where they resided for 59 years before moving to St. John’s Lutheran Community, Water’s Edge.

More than 50 years of family vacations and fish stories were made at Old Town Resort on Lake Clitherall in Fergus Falls, MN. 
Richard and Phyllis began taking annual vacations with their family and, after their retirement, decided to spend summers at the resort.  Richard enjoyed spending morning, noon, and night on the lake and proudly taught his granddaughters his fishing skills and how to clean their catch at the end of the day.
Fishing began at the peak of daylight, and Richard would be sure to wake you up with a knock on the window to join him. 
Winters were spent snowmobiling and prepping or fixing his boat for summer fishing.  Richard was also known for always having a well-cared-for and manicured yard, not entrusting anyone who wasn’t able to mow straight enough rows. 

With a talent for woodworking Richard created numerous items, including rocking horses, stools, end tables, and shelves.  His talents also extended musically when in high school, he started playing tuba and later in in the Joe Myron Old Time Band.  As a devout Christian, Richard was a faithful member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, MN and served as an usher.

Richard’s kind heart, warm smile, and devotion to his family will be missed by all who love him.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Phyllis, of 66 years; daughter, Kay (Scott) McCall; daughter-in-law, Joy Tavis; grandchildren, Amber (Randy) Kline, Aaryn (Neal) Forst, Cali (Bryan) Maxfield, Cory (Amber) Fautsch, Casi Joy (Bryan) Lankford; great-grandchildren, Adrian and Arik Kline, Mason, Monty, and June Forst, Lilly and Lincoln Maxfield, and Savannah, Skylin, and Marley Fautsch; sisters in law, JoAnn (Jim) Malepsy, Elaine (Loren) Porter, Lorraine Malepsy, and Sharon (Geoff) Hobin; along with many nieces and nephews.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents; son, Gary Tavis; grandson, Austun Tavis; and brothers-in-law, Bill Malepsy and Terry (Charlene) Jenson.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, July 10, 2023, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, MN; Pastor Eileen Woyen will officiate.  Richard’s family will greet guests at a visitation one and a half hours prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at Graceland Cemetery in Albert Lea, MN.

The family would like to thank St. John's staff and Mayo Hospice for the wonderful care they gave Dick.

Memorial contributions may be given in Richard’s memory to Trinity Lutheran Church, 501 S Washington Ave, Albert Lea, MN 56007 or donor’s choice.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, July 10, 2023

9:30 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Monday, July 10, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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Monday, July 10, 2023

Starts at 1:15 pm (Central time)

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