Richard Paul Guyette was born on January 13th, 1947 in Rochester, NY to Florence (Sly) & William Guyette. Shortly after, his brother Tom & sister Lenny were born. Some of Rich’s fondest memories were summers in the Adirondacks with them. The family also lived in Houston and St. Louis. In 1966, he graduated high school and started at the University of Missouri.
After spending a long winter in the Yukon, Rich came back to mid-Missouri in 1973 and purchased a few acres of undeveloped land in the woods of South Boone County. He designed & built a home there, with a little help from his friends. He lived on and loved this land for 50 years.
In 1979 Rich welcomed his son, Aaron Boone, with Mary Ellen DeSutter. In his younger years, Rich liked taking Boone fishing & camping. They always enjoyed a good game of basketball together, whether watching or playing. The two also shared a strong interest & talent in art.
Rich & Mary Curry Lottes were married in 1991. They liked to travel, but especially enjoyed watching the seasons change at home in Boone County. They loved spending time by the water, fishing & swimming. Rich & Mary were grateful to spend over 30 years together in mid-Missouri.
Their daughter Anna Rose was born in 1994. Growing up, she loved to watch her dad cook (and ask a lot of questions). On Saturday mornings, they’d make pancakes and listen to the “Car Talk” radio show. As she grew up and developed some culinary skills of her own, Rich liked to sit back and watch Anna do the cooking.
In the 1980s, Rich began pioneering research in dendrochronology at the University – including some of the first tree-ring studies assessing climate change. After receiving his PhD in 1991, he became a research professor and started fieldwork in remote areas of the US & Canada. His research was instrumental in justifying the need for fire management on state and federal lands. At the local level, he helped establish The Missouri Tree-Ring Laboratory, of which he was Director until his transition to Professor Emeritus in 2017. The lab became a recognized Center for Research at the University in 2021 and was renamed the Center for Tree-Ring Science.
Other notable achievements of Dr. Guyette’s include: using tree rings to describe past Indigenous & early European uses of fire, developing equations to measure & predict wildfire activity from climate, and extracting elements from tree-rings to measure historical changes in pollution. He achieved international recognition as an expert in dendrochronology, and remains one of the most published & cited fire ecology scientists in the Eastern US. At the University, he served two terms on Faculty Council. In 2019, he received the Herbert Stoddard Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Fire Ecology. In 2022, he received a second lifetime achievement award from the Ozark Area Community Congress.
Rich was also a skilled woodworker and renowned artist. Specializing in fine pen & ink drawings, which made complex scientific information more interesting and accessible. His designs were used by many local organizations, including a special series commissioned by Missouri State Parks. His passion for forestry spilled even further into his weekends with a decades-long community maple syrup operation. Both the process and the product were enjoyed by many. His favorite nights were spent at the “Sugar Shack”.
Rich was patient, smart, kind, and humble; a beloved friend & mentor to many. He passed away on Tuesday, August 29th, 2023.
He is survived by his wife Mary, son Aaron Boone, daughter Anna Rose (Jeremy Myers), brother Thomas (Mary Ann) Guyette, sister Lenore (Earl) Wilson, and many other beloved Guyettes & Lotteses.
A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, September 30th at the Mizzou Reynolds Alumni Center from 2-5pm, with tributes at 2:30pm. Casual attire welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Sinclair School of Nursing. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com for the Guyette family.