Obituary for Richard Wilson Lea of Eastwood

Richard Wilson Lea, 66, of Eastwood, passed away peacefully at Hospice House in Pinehurst on Saturday, Nov 26, 2022.

A memorial service will be held at Culdee Presbyterian Church in West End, Thursday, December 1 at 2 p.m. The visitation will take place the proceeding Wednesday, November 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Boles Funeral Home in Southern Pines.

Richard (“Ricky”) was born August 1, 1956, the second child of William and Carlene Lea. Immediately following graduation from Pinecrest High School in 1974, Ricky proudly enlisted into the United States Navy. Stationed aboard the USS Midway, Ricky served during the evacuation missions at the closing of the Vietnam War. After retiring from active duty, he continued to serve in the Naval Reserve until achieving full retirement in 1994, as a Petty Officer 1st Class.

Upon returning from active duty, Ricky, along with his brother Billy, rejoined his father in running the family farm. Together they built a successful tobacco business enlisting the help of the youngest generation while teaching them the value of hard work, and raising them in much the same way they came up. For his children, nieces and nephews, the lessons and strong work ethic gained from those hot summers in the tobacco fields were truly invaluable and shaped the capable young men and women they have become today – something many generations of Leas share and will continue to impart upon future generations.

While working on the family farm, Ricky expanded his passion for service by joining the Eastwood Volunteer Fire Department. That passion quickly grew and he built a career in the Pinehurst Fire Department serving 25 years and retiring as Battalion Chief in 2019. Ricky built lifelong friendships with his fellow firemen and regarded them as family. To him, his fire family were angels among us. Showing up to cut fire wood, trim back shrubs, or just stopping by for a visit – all without ever stepping on this very independent man’s toes. To all of his angels, thank you.

Ricky loved the family farm and the farming way of life. Once the family had retired from growing tobacco, the farm was transitioned to raising beef cattle. Ricky had aspirations to once again join his father in raising cattle after his retirement from the fire department. He loved the land and thoroughly enjoyed just taking an afternoon stroll with his little dog Barney following along. These are some of the most cherished memories his granddaughters shared with him. His other passions included riding his Harley Davidson motorcycles, racing, and classic cars with his Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird being one of his most cherished cars in his collection. Ricky also loved studying The Bible and reading God’s Word. The scriptures brought him much comfort throughout his life and especially as he fought his illness in recent years. We will all look to these comforting words in the days ahead as we begin to face life without this wonderful man.

Ricky was preceded in death by his loving mother, Carlene Furr Lea; and infant son, Aaron.

He is survived by his son, Joshua Wilson Lea (Maegan), of Pinehurst; his daughter, Elizabeth Caroline Lea Tyndall (Jared), of Sanford; and his son, James Nolan Lea (Sophie), of Colorado Springs, CO. His father William “Bill” Lea (Linda); brother William “Billy” Lea; sister Donna Lea Ford (Wesley); sister Carla Lea Sehestedt (Jack); lifelong friend, Anisa Crosby.  He is also survived by four grandchildren, who filled his heart with pure joy: Eloise Lea, Olivia Tyndall, Mabel Lea, and Allison Tyndall. Additionally, he was very much looking forward to a fifth grandchild on the way.

The family extends their appreciation and gratitude for the support they have received from family and friends. We hope memories of the good times bring our hearts peace and comfort. 

If you find yourself reflecting about Ricky, take a walk in the country. Feel the breeze, the sun, and the gentle crackles under your feet as you walk through the field. As he would say, enjoy what God has given us.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Research Children’s Hospital or the Eastwood Volunteer Fire Department.

Online condolences may be made at

Services are entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email