Richard Edwin Wrangle was born Feb. 14, 1933, in Bartlesville, Okla., to Edwin S. and Virginia Vensel Wrangle, and died peacefully at home on April 7, 2014, wonderfully cared for by family, friends and hospice.
He graduated from Wewoka High School in Oklahoma (1951), Southern Methodist University in Dallas (1955), and Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville (1958). He married Shirley McRae in 1956 and they were together until 1969. In l958 he joined the Army before beginning his professional life, hoping to avoid the disruption of the draft. But he received a medical discharge in 1959 and moved to the Pacific Northwest, originally to Spokane. He served as a minister in the United Methodist Church there for two years before going to Europe for a year to travel and study language at the Goethe Institute and joined the Experiment in International Living.
He returned to Seattle in 1963 and became a peace activist with Clergy and Lay Against the War in Vietnam, and the American Friends Service Committee. He began doing woodwork at this time, remodeling interiors, and started to design and build original, one-of-a-kind sculptural furniture pieces.
His next traveling came in 1972 when he traveled to South Africa, renewing a friendship with Cheryl, who became his wife in 1974. After returning to Seattle, Richard continued to develop and create and in 1970 he won an award for a sculptural desk at the Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Fair in the category of sculpture, before there was a furniture category. He was featured in 1980 at Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Fair as an Artist in Action, and had work in many art galleries in the 1970s and 1980s including the Contemporary Crafts Museum in Portland, Ore., and the Henry Gallery at the University of Washington.
In 1984, the Wrangles moved to the Methow Valley, where Richard became deeply in touch with the land, the animals and birds. Nature fed the artist in him. And he continued to be a tireless champion of creativity and imagination, especially in connection to the land and to “place.”
Richard was a member of Northwest Designer Craftsmen and the Twisp Valley Grange when he died, and was a founding member of Northwest Fine Woodworking in 1980 and of Confluence Gallery in 1987.
He is survived by his wife, Cheryl; his sister, Judy Morris of Canton, Texas; a niece, Nikki Upchurch, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; a nephew, Jay Smith of Canton, Texas; and three stepchildren, Randy Horton (Patty) of Los Gatos, Calif., Jeffrey Horton of Nelson, B.C., and Suzanne Mathieu of Redding, Calif.; as well as many step-grandchildren, and his former wife, Shirley McRae of Port Townsend, who has remained a friend.
Memorial gifts can be made to his beloved nonprofit, Confluence Gallery in Twisp, that he supported and championed and where there will be a memorial celebration on May 31 at 5 p.m. Please bring a dish to share, a story or a memory, and if you would like to write something to go in a book, email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.