Born in Berlin in 1935 to Max and Marie Solmssen, Dick left with his family for America at the outbreak of WWII. His childhood years were spent in Summit, New Jersey and Chilmark, Massachusetts, where he learned to sail and fall in love with horses and the outdoors. A graduate of Darrow School, Dick completed his B.A. in Classics at Trinity College and his M.A. at UMass, Amherst. In 1957, he accepted a teaching position at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea, where he ended up teaching generations of students for the next 53 years. During his time at HPA, Dick started and developed its extensive equestrian program. After solidifying his identity and purpose in the place and people of Waimea, Dick became an active member of its community: He was devoted to the life and ministries of Saint James Episcopal Church, and he was a long-time member of the Waimea Lion's Club. He also participated in numerous cattle roundups and brandings with Parker Ranch, as well as other Big Island ranches.
Dick is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Sharon, of Waimea, and their three children: Mia Perkins (Dan); Robi Solmssen (Avery), and Max Solmssen (Michelle). From his first marriage to Louise McGregor, Dick is survived by their four children: Meg Lin (Steve); Hans Solmssen (Fiona); Lisa Browning (Philip); and Jennifer Solmssen (Glenise McKenzie). He was proud of his 12 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Although predeceased by his sisters Johanna Solmssen and Nora Knowles, Dick is survived by his brother, Hans Solmssen (Sally) and his sister, Mary Heldenbrand.
To honor Dick's life and legacy, donations may be made to Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Saint James Episcopal Church, and Paniolo Preservation Society. Services are Pending.
Arrangements Provided By: Oahu Mortuary