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RADM Richard Kern Fontaine, USN (Ret)



Rear Admiral (USN Retired) Richard Kern Fontaine (Rich) passed away in the early morning hours of June 11, 2017 at his Rancho Bernardo home in San Diego, California, having just turned 89. Rich was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 31, 1928 to Jean Henri Fontaine and Lillian Dora Richard Fontaine. His youth was spent in Minneapolis where he attended Southwest High School as a star athlete in both swimming and golf and as an Eagle Scout with Boy Scout Troop 119. Graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951, Rich was commissioned an ensign and through subsequent promotions attained the rank of Rear Admiral in March 1978. His distinguished naval career included four at sea commands with the USS Parrot (MSC 97), USS Hissem (DER 400), USS Hoel (DDG 13) and USS Reeves (CG 24) culminating with Service Group Two as a Rear Admiral. Highlights include Operation Deepfreeze operating/supporting a weather station in Antarctica for 6 months, participation in the Cuban Blockage (where he was mentioned in Russian briefs in Moscow) and involvement in the famous Tet Offensive in Vietnam. Among his numerous decorations and awards are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with gold star in lieu of second award), Republic of Vietnam Distinguished Service Order and the Bronze Star Medal (with Combat V). Rich married his high school sweetheart, Sara Jean Wyatt (Sally) of Minneapolis on June 8, 1951 and they embarked on a lifelong adventure over their 67 year marriage. Upon retirement from the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in 1984, Rich and Sally settled in Rancho Bernardo and Rich had a second successful career with Logicon as a member of the Senior Executive Staff. He was active in numerous local service organizations including the San Diego Navy League (Ship Commissioning Chairman), Military Order of World Wars, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freedom Foundation, and as a marshal for various PGA tournaments. In addition to the Navy, golf was Rich's lifelong passion 4 years high school varsity competition where he won the Minneapolis City Championship and 2nd place in the State Championship, followed by 4 years college varsity competition at the US Naval Academy where he won the Eastern Intercollegiate Championship and placed second in the NCAA National Championship. Rumor has it he beat Arnold Palmer during his time on the Naval Academy golf team. Rich participated and won several local championships and enjoyed being a golf instructor with actual students or just to pass on free advice. Golf was second only to his enjoyment of his family and large extended network of friends from his childhood, the Navy and many avenues of life. Rich is survived by his wife Sara; children R. Scot Fontaine (wife Sandra Casares), Martha Bradford (husband Peter), Catherine Fontaine (husband Michael Lucker), Susan Linnett (husband Scott) and Sara Fontaine (husband Mark); his eight grandchildren Evan Fontaine (wife Valerie), Maya Fontaine, Catherine Arvey (husband Aaron), Stacey Sale (husband Andrew), Megan Weske (husband Kevin), Robert Linnett, Nicholas Fontaine and Charles Fontaine; and three great-grandchildren Roman, Lana and Sylvie (with the fourth Henry Weske due in July 2017.) Rich will be remembered by family and friends as a fantastic husband and father, a true patriot who served his country well and as a rare "Golden Gate Good Guy". We wish you fair winds and following seas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation in Rich's name to Wounded Warriors.