Roy L. Ricks

Roy L. Ricks, 83, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., passed away at home after a brief illness on Oct. 31, 2013, surrounded by his family.

Roy was a native of New Orleans, La., and a graduate of LSU with a degree in architectural engineering. After marrying his high school sweetheart, he was assigned to Eglin Air Force Base for two years as an installation engineer, later opening his own practice in 1956 in the Long Insurance Building in downtown Fort Walton Beach. The practice grew into Ricks/Kendrick/Stokes/David, AIA, and was responsible for the planning and design of many iconic local buildings.

Roy was very active in the community as a member of St. Simon’s on the Sound Episcopal Church, Jaycees, Kiwanis Club, YMCA Board of Directors (special advisor), Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors; president), Quarterback Club (president), Municipal Advisory Board, Okaloosa Island Authority, Krewe of Bowlegs (honor guard; Captain Billy XXII), Florida NW Chapter AIA (treasurer; president), Florida AIA (director).

As a young man in New Orleans, Roy was a Boy Scout, a Sea Scout and an Eagle Scout. He made his first trip to Fort Walton Beach on a sailboat during the annual Eastward Ho cruise from the New Orleans Yacht Club. He earned enough money from his paper route to buy a motor bike in grammar school, and later, a used Harley Davidson he rode during his college years at LSU.

Roy was a member of the first graduating class of the School of Architectural Engineering at LSU. He boasted of shaking hands with Frank Lloyd Wright during Wright’s visit to LSU in 1951. He went on to become the youngest registered architect in the state of Louisiana. In 1977 he hit the books again to become a licensed engineer.

Roy enjoyed sailing, snow skiing, bird hunting and golfing with his many friends, but his passion was flying. A licensed commercial pilot, he enjoyed flying a variety of airplanes and most recently one he built in the backyard — a two-seater experimental.

Roy is preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Carmen Ricks; brother, Kent Ricks of New Orleans, and son, Carey Ricks of Destin.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary Ellen Ricks, daughter, Judy Ricks and Tommy Wells of Fort Walton Beach; son, Brian, wife, Doris, and granddaughter, Carson Ricks, of Coronado, Calif.; niece, Michelle, husband, Joe Stephens, and daughter, Mackenzie, of New Orleans, La.; and niece, Betsy Murrell and daughter, Phoebe, of Norfolk, Va.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 26 at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road, Fort Walton Beach. The service will be conducted by Roy’s godson, the Rev. Russell Kendrick of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Birmingham, Ala. The family will receive visitors prior to the service beginning at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Fort Walton Family YMCA, 1127 Hospital Road, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547.