Tetta Richert's lifelong love affair with the ocean is memorialized in mementos that range from trophies won as an international speedboat racing champion to shells collected in exotic seas.
Boat, car racerSurgeon Paul Gebauer
Richert dies at 88;
Broadcaster Robert Loew
By Mary Adamski
She began motorboat racing as a young teen-ager in Monrovia, Calif., and went on to win numerous awards in America and Europe during the 1930s. In later years, she and her late husband Thomas Richert dived and collected shells from throughout the Pacific.
"She loved action, sports of any kind, anything new and wonderful," said her daughter Tiare Richert-Finney. "Just within the last five years, she went jet-skiing with my brothers."
Loretta Turnbull Richert died Nov. 19 at the age of 88.
"I remember diving with her once when there were a lot of sharks around the boat," recalled friend Andy Butler. "She said, 'The odds of a shark biting a 67-year-old are remote; I'm going in,' and that she did."
"She was very talented, a self-taught interior decorator," Butler added. Richert created "shellscapes," some of which decorated the lobbies of island hotels, including the Hale Koa Hotel and the Ala Moana Hotel.
"My mother knew Amelia Earhart," Richert-Finney said. "Amelia was queen of the skies, and my mother was queen of the seas."
Although Richert gave up boat racing after marrying and moving to Hawaii, she took up sports car racing. She was the only woman member of the Sports Car Club of Hawaii and continued to drive in local races in the 1950s, with her three children among her fans. "I like to go fast," she told an interviewer. "I think I will go fast until I die."
"She has a great following; the children of the people she raced cars with all know her," said her daughter, who participates in races herself as a paddler for the Outrigger Canoe Club.
Richert's survivors also include sons Mark T. and Lance T. and four grandchildren.
Richert's family and friends will take to the ocean in boats as a final salute. The farewell service will begin at noon Dec. 8 at the Hawaii Kai boat ramp. The family suggests that participants bring loose flowers and leis to scatter at sea. Casual attire is suggested.