CDR Richard Columbus Cullen, Retired

May 1, 1928 - June 14, 2023

05/01/1928 - 06/14/2023

In Loving Memory of CDR Richard Columbus Cullen, Retired

May 1, 1928 – June 14, 2023

Richard Columbus Cullen, known as Dick to his friends, a dedicated family man, patriot, and beloved member of the community, passed on into eternity on June 14, 2023. He leaves behind a legacy of love, strength, and unwavering commitment to his loved ones. Richard’s life was filled with remarkable experiences, cherished connections, and a passion for life that will forever be remembered.

Born on May 1, 1928, in Crisfield, Maryland, Richard embarked on a journey that would be marked by love, adventure, and unfaltering dedication. On September 17, 1947, Richard married his soulmate, Marian Shirley Cullen, and their love story unfolded over an incredible 75 years of cherished memories and shared experiences. Their bond was a shining example of enduring love and commitment, a testament to the power of a lifelong partnership. The love story between Richard and his beloved Shirley surpassed even the most famous tales of romance, serving as an incredible example of what love should be. Together, they raised a loving family, including their son Richard Columbus Cullen, II. and their daughter Teresa Cullen Hutcheson. His support for his children and grandchildren knew no bounds, ensuring that they never wanted for anything.

Richard’s illustrious career in the Navy spanned decades, culminating in his retirement as a Commander at Naval Station Norfolk on February 28, 1975. His dedication, honor, and steadfast sense of duty were the cornerstones of his service to his country. Richard’s naval career was marked by numerous achievements, and his leadership skills and resolute commitment earned him the respect and admiration of all who served alongside him.

In his younger years, Richard found solace and joy on the water, indulging in his passion for fishing, and also embraced the thrill of duck hunting. He possessed a zest for life and an energy that made him the life of every gathering. Richard’s love for music, particularly big band melodies, filled his heart with joy, and he could often be found tapping his feet to the rhythm and sharing his passion with those around him, particularly when he would play the Boogie-Woogie on the piano for his grandchildren when they were young.

Golfing and exploring the world were two of Richard’s cherished pastimes. He reveled in the challenge and tranquility of the golf course, finding solace in the sport’s precision and camaraderie. Traveling the world allowed him to immerse himself in different cultures and broaden his horizons, leaving him with a wealth of stories and memories that he would eagerly share.

Richard was a true enthusiast of theme parks, with a particular passion for roller coasters. The thrill and exhilaration of these towering structures captured his spirit, and he cherished every moment spent on them, taking every opportunity he saw to ride them back to back when the lines were short. His enthusiasm spread to those around him, as he encouraged others to embrace the excitement and push their boundaries.

Upon retiring from the Navy, Richard transitioned into the realm of entrepreneurship, establishing multiple businesses throughout the years. His ventures included a seafood company and a domestic and international logistics company. Richard’s dedication, sharp business acumen, and steadfast work ethic were evident in every endeavor he pursued.

His retirement years were spent in both Orlando and Virginia Beach, where he made an indelible mark on the lives of his grandchildren who only ever knew him as Popop. For each of them, his impact has been immeasurable, both through the endless generosity he showed to them, and the life lessons he modeled for them every day. For Olivia in particular, Popop’s presence in her life went beyond the role of a grandparent. During a time of loss, he provided unwavering guidance and love, fostering her childhood and imagination. His influence set her on a path that could have easily been altered by grief, and for that, she will forever be grateful. For all of his grandchildren, his influence and the invaluable lessons he imparted will continue to shape their lives, inspiring them to embrace joy, cultivate imagination, and honor the importance of family bonds.

Richard Columbus Cullen will be remembered as a man of remarkable spirit, compassion, and tenacity. Left behind to cherish his memory are his wife Shirley, his children, Richard Columbus Cullen, II (with his wife Kathryn), and Teresa Cullen Hutcheson (with her husband Kenneth), along with his grandchildren Christopher Hutcheson (with his wife Alex), Caitlin Hutcheson Stephens (with her husband Mark) and Olivia Cullen Dyroff, along with his great-grandchildren Islay, Jura, Vivian, and Quinn. His impact on each of their lives was immense, and it will forever be etched in their hearts. Richard’s vibrant personality, infectious laughter, and warm presence will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

In commemoration of his military service, Richard will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to Task Force Dagger Special Operations Foundation in Richard’s honor.

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Jill Cox
10 months ago

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Mr. Cullen. I am so happy he was able to live a full and happy life. We were neighbors in Norfolk for several years. I was a child so mainly it was Mrs. Cullen, Ricky and his sister I remember the most.
I know this is a great loss to your family and I hope you find comfort.
Jill Mouser (Cox)

Cheryl J Skinner Tri-State Military Museum
10 months ago

May the love of God surround you and your family during this difficult time,

 May you come to know that the love of God is with you always,

May your memories of CDR Richard Columbus Cullen, give you peace, comfort and strength…

Rest now in the arms of our Lord your mission on earth is complete.

I thank you for your service to our Country and my Freedom. You will not be forgotten.

My thoughts

and prayers to the family of ….

US Navy Veteran, CDR Richard Columbus Cullen, is “A True American Hero” God Bless†

† Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 †

Sue Stone
10 months ago

So sorry for your loss. PopPop was a very nice man. He always made our family feel welcome and helped raise my niece Olivia. She was very fond of him and MeMaw. He will be missed. He is now on that roller-coaster in the sky. May he rest in peace. Aunt Poozie.