Richard T.


Richard T. Stai, 80, of Ashland, passed away Sunday, February 3, 2019 in King's Daughters Medical Center.
He was born May 7, 1938, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a son of the late William and Eva Taylor Stai.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his two sons, Brace Taylor Stai, Scott Taylor Stai; brother, Jack; and sister, Janet.
He is survived by his loving wife, of 58 years, Sharon Stai; son, Todd (Rhonda) Stai; grandchildren, Dr. Taylor (Alexandra) Stai, Dr. Trey (Claire) Stai, Tyler Lewis, Travis (Jennifer) Lewis, and Jacob Lewis; great grandchildren, Ellie, Tegan and Sophia; brothers, William (Sandy) Stai, and David (Joann) Stai; sister, Marion (Kenneth) Syverson; and a host of loving nieces, nephews, extended family members and dear friends.
Dick was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Ashland. He enjoyed fishing, woodworking, and was very artistic.He and his wife are co-owners of The Boat Store, Inc., in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, which services barge traffic on the Ohio River.
He graduated from Eau Claire Senior High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He completed his Bachelor's Education at Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He received his Masters of Social Work from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he worked as a group worker in Kingsley House. He continued in the field of Social Work at Lutheran Social Services of Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland, as a supervisor of social services.
Mr. Stai came to Kentucky in 1966 on what he called, "sort of a trial basis," when he was selected as Executive Director of a center in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, where he served eleven years. At Pathways, Inc., as Executive Director from 1977 to 2008, he planned, implemented, directed, and controlled all operations serving ten counties in eastern Kentucky. He was a moving force in Kentucky's early community behavioral healthcare. Nearly four decades later, he retired from the community behavioral and health system.
In his nearly 40-year tenure as a mental health administrator, he helped guide the behavioral health movement in Kentucky through many economically turbulent years, and he introduced innovative programming and treatment philosophies to the behavioral health field.
In 2003, Mr. Stai was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council of Behavioral Health to mark his significant contributions to the behavioral healthcare field and the consumers it serves. He demonstrated superior, sustained commitment to the National Council's principles, values, and ideals. His career was marked by significant contributions to behavioral healthcare and its consumers.
Daniel B. Howard, who served as Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of Regional Programs and Kentucky's former Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health, will offer the eulogy. Mr. Howard says, "Dick Stai was one of the best administrators of behavioral health organizations in the country. He was known for his balanced judgement, his ability to cut through bureaucratic red tape, his careful common sense analysis, and his skills as an administrator." The success of Pathways and, in part, Kentucky's mental health system itself, is due to his progressive leadership and creative management style. He actively promoted legislation that facilitated a significant improvement in quality of care. He was a consummate advocate of services for people with behavioral health issues.
Funeral services will be immediately following the Eulogy at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church with Pastor Mark A. Kloha officiating. Entombment will follow in Rose Hill Burial Park Mausoleum.
Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Saturday, at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Dick's memory may be made to North Eastern CASA of Boyd County, 2800 Louisa Street, Suite 300, Catlettsburg, Ky., 41129.
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Published on February 5, 2019
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12 posts

Renaye Sparks
Feb 25, 2019
I worked at Pathways for Dick for 17 years. He was a great mentor and friend and contributed greatly to the development of quality mental health services in the region. He will be fondly remembered by all whose lives he touched.
William (Bill) Stai
Feb 10, 2019
As his older brother by a year, Dick (I call him Rich) and I shared our whole childhood together. My memory brings back wonderful times as we grew up side by side. He started to outgrow me and our relationship took a new turn from competition (most of the time friendly until Dad had to buy us boxing gloves). Unfortunately for me, he continued to grow and I stopped and I had to eat a lot of humble pie, yet I still remember him as my best friend growing up. As he started outgrowing me so he excelled in his sports, basketball and baseball, I had to settle for being proud to be his brother. From then on the competition became less and the friendship grew. I am proud of Rich's athletic c...ompetence and his integrity in the field of human behavioral health!Read more
Bryn A Carlson
Feb 09, 2019
Sharon: May you find comfort and consultation with family, friends and so many Dick touched during his life time. Dick was one of a kind. He was a close and dear friend and when we would get together over the years we relived many precious memories which often resulted in many good belly laughs. Many times I would pick him up at his home on Eddy Lane in Eau Claire and we would head out be it football, basketball practice or just out for the evening. I thank God that we was a part of my life even though years sent us our separate ways. I hope and pray Sharon that you find comfort and consultation among loved ones knowing you had 58 years together. May God wrap his arms around you in ...your grief. Love to you!Read more
Ted Balcom
Feb 08, 2019
I knew Dick in high school, where he was a leader and much admired. I spoke with him at a recent class reunion, and he was the same thoughtful, friendly guy I remembered. I'm glad he had such a distinguished career and helped so many people. I'm sure he will be deeply missed.
Sue Tappe
Feb 08, 2019
May you all find peace in your memories
Maureen Duda Corcella
Feb 06, 2019
My fondest memories are those I spent with your family. Thankful for those which I will always have. Prayers in flight for all
Adele Mosley
Feb 06, 2019
I have known Dick since 1979 and worked for him at Pathways for 22 years. He was caring and always working to make sure the disabled received all services needed and not left behind.he cared for all who worked at Pathways and worked closely with the community. he was a great friend!
John Fisher
Feb 06, 2019
I retired from employment at Pathways Inc, after 39 years working for Dick, and I was always impressed with his willingness to encourage employees to contribute to the well being of people in need. He was a very warm hearted man.
Bill Shogren
Feb 06, 2019
I remember Dick in junior high school. Dick was a "people person even back then. Wonderful personality, always cordial with a smile.
Richard farmer
Feb 06, 2019
I was a class mate of dick in high school, he was respected by all his classmate, good in sports, and was always a person with a smile on his. Face, and he always had a kind word. God bless his family
Rindie Vanhoose
Feb 05, 2019
I have worked at Pathways for 25 yrs in accounting dept every time I would see Dick he would smile at me and say hi I don't really think he knew my name but he still spoke to me he was a sweet man and he will be missed RIP Dick
Carla Burchett
Feb 05, 2019
RIP dear friend. You are loved and will be missed.