In Memory

Rickie Vinson

Rickie Vinson


Richard Lee (Rick) Vinson went to be with his special children on Sept. 1, 2001 in Abilene, Texas. Rick was born Aug. 8, 1951, in Abilene to W.J. Vinson, Jr., and Virginia Ruth Holt Vinson. Rick graduated from Abilene High School and attended Tarleton State University and El Centro College.

Rick discovered his life's work while an anesthetist tech at Hendrick Medical Center. In 1974, he began a course of study which led to his becoming a respiratory therapist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. Rick ultimately was named Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Coordinator. Rick then passed both the Certified Pulmonary Function Technician and Registered Pulmonary Function Technician in less than one year. Rick was the first respiratory therapist to receive the prestigious Jaws Award.

Under Rick's leadership, CMC's Respiratory Therapy ICU staff grew from 15 to more than 50; a new Pediatric ICU was designed and built; CMC implemented one of the world's first pediatric High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilator programs; and critical care patient ventilators were upgraded to computer assisted service ventilators.

Thousands of children lived to go home as the direct result of Rick's loving, personal care, indirectly as the result of his leadership, and through the programs he helped design and implement. The foundation he built continues to make life better for the children he so loved.

Rick left Children's in 1995 to take a position at Walls Regional Hospital in Cleburn, Texas, as Manager of Respiratory Care.

Rick is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Brian Lilly of Irving; his parents; brother and sister-in-law, Ronnie and Laura Vinson of Hamby; sister, Barbara Fahrlender; two nephews, Sam Vinson and Matt Fahrlender; his grandmother, Gladys Holt of Abilene; numerous aunts and uncles; numerous cousins, friends; and his special little buddy, Jake Hutchins of Van, Texas.

Funeral services are 1 p.m. Monday at the Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home Chapel of Faith, 5701 Hwy 277 South, with Knox Waggoner officiating. Burial will be in Bethel Cemetery.

The family requests that memorials be made to Ronald McDonald House at CMC or to the National Cystic Fibrosis Assn.

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02/05/09 04:02 PM #1    

Belinda McGlothlin (Branch)

I have a story about Ricky that always takes me back to a time in my life that was unforgettable. Ricky was working at Abilene Memorial Hospital back in 1972. This was at the same time I gave birth to my son, Paul (his father is Travis Smith, an AHS '69 grad). The day after Paul was born, I remember standing at the window of the nursery staring affectionately at my new baby boy. To my surprise, Ricky walked up wearing scrubs and congratulated me on the birth of my new son. I was so excited about being a new mother. I then proudly started pointing out to Ricky which little boy was mine. Ricky told me that he already knew which baby was mine because he was in the delivery room when I gave birth to him. Although I didn't technically faint, I must have come very close because I really don't remember much after that. *ha* I was so young and modest back then. I cannot express the depth of my embarrassment at that moment. So, Ricky actually saw our baby, before we did! Ricky, you may be gone...but not forgotten. You were one of the good guys.

02/06/09 11:47 PM #2    

Mike Patton

After his stint at Hendrick's Rick was Asst. Director of Respiratory Therapy at Children's Hospital in Dallas up until a year before he died. Children's was a customer of mine and I was there frequently. I spent a lot of time with him and he, Pam Evans (Newton), and myself had lunch on occasion.
Rick got fed up with Dallas and Childrens and left to go back to school at Tarleton State living in Glen Rose. Within a year his health began to fail and he moved back to Abilene not long before he passed. He would tell me "his real ambition was to have a small spread near Hamby", and he almost made it.

Vinson was involved in the early development of ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation), a revolutionary ventilation system for distressed infants that breaths 900 times a minute and an external heart/lung circulation method. It's a life saver but dangerous if not applied properly. Vinson was their ace pilot. I was amazed at the respect and comradery he had from the staff and docters at Children's. They LOVED him!!! It's very hard to get them away from the hospital in Dallas but for the only time ever, Children's went with a "skeleton crew" that day while they were at his funeral in Abilene.


02/08/09 10:13 PM #3    

Barbara Anderson (Gaskins)

Ricky was in some classes with me and his dry sense of humor really cracked me up. We were not very close, but I remember thinking he was really cute :)

About 5 or 6 years ago at a family reunion in Baird, I saw Ronnie Vinson there and I couldn't figure out why. Come to find out we were all distantly related. I can tell you that the way his family misses him surely proves the love they had for him. His mom and dad get very quiet and pensive when they speak of him and their pain is quite apparent. God must have needed a little humor in heaven.

02/09/09 11:53 PM #4    

Sarah Burgoon (Bushong-Weeks)

I remember seeing Ricky at the end of our ninth grade year and he was about 5'6" tall or so. When I saw him again at the beginning of our sophomore year, he must have grown four inches taller over the summer. I swear he was six foot tall! I always thought he had a wry sense of humor and a sweet smile. I was shocked when I found out he had passed. He will be missed.

03/21/09 12:08 AM #5    

Mike Walsh

Rickie - manager extraordinairre (?)

What a great guy! Loved life - to the fullest!
I remember walking into the 'laundry room' in the
field house, one Saturday morning..........
there was Rickie....IN THE DRYER ! He and David Weeks and Jerry Kiser were taking "rides" IN THE DRYER! I laughed sooo hard.

08/28/09 10:44 AM #6    

Rickie Vinson (Family)

Hi! This is Kim, Rick's daughter. I just wanted to thank each of you who posted stories about my Dad. He was a wonderful man and he is greatly missed! I loved reading your stories. They touched my heart and made me smile! He has two beautiful grandchildren, Allison-6 and Jordan-4. We talk about him all the time. Thank you so much! God Bless You!

08/29/09 05:04 PM #7    

Carol Beaty (Corley)

To the Vinson Family-thank you so much for posting pictures of Ricki's loves. He is greatly missed by all of his friends and will be forever, but I thank God for his friendship and for all the life's he has touched. He will forever be remembered as our classmate and friend...There are some who bring a light So great to the world that even after they have Gone, The Light remains. Blessings.

09/01/09 07:31 AM #8    

Rickie Vinson (Family)

Hi, this is Barbara aka to some of you as "Rickie Vinson's little sister." I just wanted to thank all of you for your sweet words about my big brother. Today is a sad day for the folks who loved Rick so much, but reading your words here brings a much needed smile.


Barbara Vinson Fahrlender.

10/08/09 03:25 PM #9    

Barbara Anderson (Gaskins)

Well Ricky...40 years! Good grief...How did it ever get to be that long. Of course, we all still look great tho some are a little pudgier than they were...(not me...because I was always pudgy! The others are just catching up with me. :) I have to say this is our best reunion ever and I know you would have enjoyed it. At this time in our life, we are pretty much over ourselves and can really enjoy everyone for what they are.
Of course your name came up several times and I just wanted you to know you were missed a lot! The reality of it is that you're part of our great class and always will be.
Just know that we all love you and you are in our hearts!

08/08/10 05:19 PM #10    

Steve Stegall

thinking about you yesterday..was one  close buddie at BroncoHI & AHS.  We all(RobHill, Robinson, Catlett, Kiser, David & Happy-4) went out to LK Phantom in William's boat...water skiing  -remember you couldn't believe we picked up Dana Clinton..and those "few" girls from the Starlite(area) ...we found them at the gravelPits! Happy B-Day Rickie--many memories

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