90 Plus: “Get all the education you can”

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Twenty five years after retirement, a Lafayette Parish educator stayed on as a substitute teacher. Richard Nunez was in his mid 80s back then. Today, he’s 93 years old and sharing his life story.

“I used to be on a fleet boxing team and if my knees were still good I’d still be on a boxing team. That’s how I feel,” Nunez said.

Richard Nunez was born in Lake Arthur. Nunez says he lived on a farm where everyone had chores to do.

There were seven children in all. “Life was different then,” he said. 

By the time he was 18, Richard went into the Navy. He says his father served in the army in World War II.

“I said man I’m not going to go into the army. So, I joined the Navy but I didn’t know about the torpedoes.” 

Nor did he know about Okinawa where thousands of civilians and military forces were killed. “War is terrible and you are exposed to it real quick.”

Richard recalls 6,000 of his fellow sailors lost their lives at sea.

“Suicide planes, one of them flew over my ship. It was close. The guy had to canopy back the pilot. I cursed it out. I’m not going to tell you what I told him,” he said. 

Among his achievements, Nunez served 31 years in the reserves: five in the enlisted ranks and 25 as a commanding officer of a top secret division.

That’s just to name a few.

After his military career, Richard headed for home — Lafayette. “I ended up being a math teacher later on in life.”

That’s after he went to college at UL Lafayette. The school was called SLI when he was there. He says he studied Agricultural Engineering.,

“I taught in Krotz Springs and veterans at night. Transferred to Crowley high, teaching math and physics. I loved physics.”

The family tells us he met his wife-to-be on a blind date. They had one child a son. Richard’s advice about life- He says get all the education you can attend school and learn as much as possible. “It could be that material you’re learning that could help you earn a living.”

Most recently, he and 17 other WWII veterans were honored at the WWII Museum in New Orleans.

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