Richard (Dick) A. Pillow passed away peacefully in his sleep the morning of January 22, 2023, from causes related to stage-four lung cancer.
Dick was born in Port Arthur, Texas to Alan Vidrine and Tess Pillow. His parents were divorced when he was eight years old. After spending much of his childhood living in central Wisconsin, he moved to Texas as a teenager to live with his aunt and uncle, Iva and R.D. Pillow, on a farm outside of Lubbock. In 1958, Dick graduated from Muleshoe High School in Muleshoe, Texas.
After finishing high school, and unable to afford to go to college, Dick served for four years in the U.S. Navy on board the U.S.S. Mullinnix, a Forrest Sherman-class destroyer based in Norfolk, Virginia. Although he trained as a naval artillery technician in boot camp, Dick showed a great aptitude for accounting and finance. As a result, his superiors moved him into a ship serviceman role in which he was responsible for different accounting and auditing matters aboard the ship. During his enlistment, Dick traveled all over the world, as the destroyer was constantly on active maneuvers throughout Europe and North Africa. He fondly recalled that some of his best navy days were spent in various ports of in the Mediterranean Sea.
Upon completing his U.S. Navy service in 1962, Dick relocated to Indio, California, where he reconnected with and worked for his uncle R.D., who had started a highly-successful general contracting business in the Coachella Valley. In early 1963, during a trip to Los Angeles to visit some friends, Dick met his wife, Patricia (Pat) Marie Pillow, and they were married on November 23 of that year. The couple decided to live in Whittier, which was centrally located to their respective jobs and Dick’s college campuses.
In the formative years of their marriage, Pat held numerous secretarial and switchboard operator jobs, while Dick attended classes during the day at L.A. City College. In the evenings, he honed his accounting skills as a night auditor at trucking company Leeway Freight. Eventually, he transferred to California State University Los Angeles, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting in 1968. Following graduation, Dick secured his CPA license when he passed, on the very first try, all sections of the highly-difficult exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
After completing his degree, Dick was heavily recruited by global accounting powerhouse Haskin & Sells (now Deloitte) a Big 8 accounting firm at the time, and he became a hard-working, trusted associate on the fast track to partner status. During his tenure at Haskins & Sells, he stood out as an effective, highly-reliable and results-driven auditor, so he was frequently assigned to conduct lengthy on-site audits at clients’ headquarters throughout the country. He also formed deep, meaningful relationships with countless clients and colleagues, many of whom became lifelong friends and investment partners over the years.
Keith, Dick and Pat’s son, was born in 1970. After Keith was born, Pat became a stay-at-home mother, and Dick continued to work at Haskins & Sells. In 1972, Haskins & Sells wanted a presence in Ventura County, so it acquired a large local accounting firm and then transferred Dick to Oxnard to manage its growing operations in the region. Pat and Keith were tasked with finding a home, and Keith still resides in that very house today on the east end of Ventura.
In 1972, Dick joined forces with former Haskin & Sells colleague Reeves White, and the two left the firm to establish their own private accounting practice, Pillow, White & Company, on Rosewood Avenue in Camarillo. Dick specialized in financial advice, accounting, bookkeeping, tax planning, and tax return preparation services for medical professionals, including general practitioners, specialists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, dentists, orthodontists and radiologists. He maintained this professional specialty throughout his five decades of practice until he officially retired in 2022. Many of Dick’s valued clients credited him and his astute financial guidance for helping them optimize their business practices and fully preparing them for their retirement years.
In 1981, Dick’s friend and accounting colleague, Curtis Olson, joined the practice, which became Pillow, Olson & Company after White amicably left the firm to pursue other professional and personal interests. In 1985, Dick and Curtis relocated their offices to Ventura to be closer to home, reduce their respective commuting times, and save money on gas and automotive maintenance (a true…and smart…CPA move!).
In his spare time, Dick was an avid golfer, a historian of the game, and an active member of Saticoy Country Club for 40 years. Later in life, and after he left Saticoy Country Club, he relished the variety of playing many of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties’ finest public layouts, including Olivas Links, Rustic Canyon Golf Club, River Ridge Golf Club, La Purisima, and Sandpiper Golf Club. Dick was well known among his golfing friends for being an excellent putter and a very accurate driver off the tee, hitting nearly every fairway in any given round. Even though he lost distance as he aged, his enthusiasm for the game never waned, and he played several times a week up until the summer of 2022, when he began experiencing knee problems. He never missed a PGA TOUR event, and he spent hours watching tournament coverage every week on Golf Channel and the major TV/cable networks. Dick’s all-time favorite golfer was Jack Nicklaus, who was the same age as him and is, in his mind, the real GOAT. His favorite golf announcers were Pat Summerall and Ken Venturi, who anchored CBS Sports’ PGA TOUR coverage for many years.
Dick loved to travel, and he and Pat often visited friends in Washington, Florida, Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and Utah while on vacation. In addition, they enjoyed over 20 cruises on various lines over the years, and they journeyed to many unusual, exciting and beautiful places. The pair preferred cruises as their vacations of choice, as both of them delighted in all the on-board activities, the shore excursion, and, of course, all the gourmet food. On their last vacation together several years ago, Dick and Pat went on a marvelous guided land tour of Panama with their friends Bob and Barbara Vogel.
In addition, Dick was also a phenomenal poker player (primarily Texas and Omaha hold em, although he enjoyed poker in all its forms), a voracious reader of books and magazines, an active and successful investor in securities and real estate, and a frequent attendee of local summer concerts in the park. Dick and Pat adored the Ventura County Fair, and they both spent over 40 years serving as volunteer judges and clerks in the Junior and Home Arts categories, including evaluating adult baked goods of all varieties. Keith always enjoyed sampling the cookies, bars and brownies they would bring home following one of their judging sessions.
Dick is survived by his devoted and loving son Keith (52).
Donations in Dick’s name are very welcome, and they may be made to two worthy organizations which he passionately supported for many years:
Santa Clara Valley Hospice
217 North 10th Street
Santa Paula, CA 93060
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital | ALSAC
501 Saint Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105