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Richard F. Poitras

Richard F. Poitras passed away on Nov. 23, 2018, at Fresno Regional Medical Center of a heart attack. He was just shy of his 86 birthday.

Dad served in the U.S. Navy on board the USS Essex as an Aviation Ordanceman (AO3). He was honorably discharged and worked as a log faller in Oregon and California. He drove more heavy equipment in Salinas.

He married Joddie Poitras, who passed away Dec. 23, 2013, from colon cancer. They were married for 50 years.

Upon becoming a resident of Oakhurst, Dad did many things to help shape the community. He would always respond, whether as a favor or for a job. One of the things dad was known for was tethering his tractor to a cable while excavating the slopes of the Ponderosa Basin during the expansion of the bridge.

During telephone cable replacement, he pulled the cable across Bass Lake. He donated labor and equipment to prepare the community center arena for the upcoming Sierra Mountaineer Days in 1972.

Dad had a talent when it came to moving dirt. He was a bit of a dare devil which earned him the nickname “Dick the Cat Skinner.” He did an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. He had an incredible work ethic which he has passed on to his children and grandchildren.

He did more home pads and crazy driveways than I can recall. He pulled mobile homes up driveways that most other operators would not dare to tread.

Dad didn’t always drive a tractor, he was also an entrepreneur. In his early years of living in the mountains, he partnered in the opening of a rock quarry off Road 416. In the 80s he opened the first health club in the mountains. It was called “The Decathlon Club.” However, excavating was where his true passion lay.

He had strong ties to the local Catholic church. He helped with St. Dominic in Bass Lake. He helped to build Our Lady of the Sierra Parish. He has a carving in the rectory at Our Lady of the Sierra that we are incredibly proud of.

He was a member of The Knights of Columbus, along with several other community organizations – the Kiwanis and Boy Scouts of America to name a few. He enjoyed square dancing, playing Petanque or just painting and carving. His artistry won many awards though the years and he was a part of Oakhurst artist guild.

Dick and Joddie leave behind two children, daughter Katrina Poitras and son Franklin Poitras; four grandchildren, Jessica Oueilhe-Davis, Samuel Oueilhe, Lance Poitras and Blake Poitras; and one great-granddaughter, born just before his death, Brielle Rae Davis; and of course, his best paw buddy Dante, who provided him emotional support. His only surviving sibling is Rose Cannon from Oregon.

There will be a graveside service with military honors on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. Service will start at 12:30 p.m. and will be held at the Oakhill Cemetery in Oakhurst.

There will be a celebration of life afterwards at the Poitras residence in Oakhurst. Directions will be given at the service.

Everyone who knew Dick is welcome to come celebrate his life with tears, laughter and great stories.

Please no flowers. If you wish to honor Dad’s memory please send a donation to help veterans at www.workingdogsforvets.org.

We love him and we’ll miss him.

His Loving daughter,

Katrina Poitras

One comment

  1. Re: Dick Poitras “the catskinner”: I met with your Dad at a property in Mariposa. I had NO idea how we could get a driveway and pad on this piece of land. He looked around and said, yeah, we can put the driveway right there, the pad will go there, and I can clear this part for you if you want as well! He knew what he was doing and was just the nicest guy. I’m sorry for your loss.

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