Dick Brothers, a dedicated Sacramento volunteer who reached out to animals, children and families in need, died June 10 at 68.
He collapsed and died of a heart attack while working on a building project at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary Inc., where he was a board member and vice president, said his wife, Jean.
Retired after four decades as a state information technology manager, Mr. Brothers was active in community groups and charities as a quiet leader and hands-on volunteer. He joined Homeward Bound after helping the Sacramento SPCA for many years. He belonged to the disaster response team and was a former board member of the local American Red Cross.
He traveled with a Concord church group for several years after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to help rebuild homes in Mississippi and New Orleans. He recently joined Habitat for Humanity and was scheduled to leave in November for a building project in Nicaragua.
Mr. Brothers and his wife were members of a group who started the local Christmas Promise program. For more than 30 years, he helped organize the program in November and spent Christmas Day sometimes dressed as an elf delivering gifts to the needy.
He spent Fridays sitting on the floor at the Sacramento Children's Home and listening attentively as youngsters in a literacy program read aloud to his pet golden retrievers, Bella and Callie.
"Dick was the most easygoing, friendly person in the world," his wife said. "He was a very gentle man, always willing to help."
Born Jan. 11, 1945, in Bakersfield, Richard George Brothers moved with his family and graduated from Stagg High School in Stockton. He served six years in the Air Force Reserve before going to work for the state in 1966.
He earned a bachelor's degree from California State University, Sacramento, while working as an IT manager for the State Controller's Office and Franchise Tax Board. He retired as chief information officer for the FTB about seven years ago, his wife said.
Mr. Brothers was married to his wife for 43 years. Lean and physically fit, he worked out five days a week and played power volleyball every Thursday night, his wife said.
He enjoyed spending hours making furniture and building things in his home workshop. He put his skills to use at Homeward Bound helping with building projects and repairs at the sanctuary grounds in Elverta. He also co-chaired the group's annual Kibble & Bids fundraiser.
"We called him our Mr. Fix It," Homeward Bound co-founder Jody Jones said. "It was always, 'Dick, can you fix this? Can you fix that?' And of course, he would."
Besides his wife, Mr. Brothers is survived by his sister, Pat Scott of Concord, and brother, Bob of Stockton.
A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. July 9 at St. Joseph Church, 32890 South River Road, Clarksburg. Memorial donations may be made to Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary Inc., 7495 Natomas Road, Elverta, CA 95626.
Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @bob_davila.