Torres died of an apparent massive heart attack on Dec. 13 while he was mowing the area around the park. He was still on the mower when passers by saw him slumped over.
“Richard was on the first park board when the town acquired the land,” Cann said. “He wanted the park kept clean.”
After Torres retired from Brown and Root at Union Carbide, he worked for approximately 10 years for the town, keeping Wilson Heard/City of Austwell Park Cann said.
“We paid him for 40 hours a month to keep up the park,” Cann said.
Torres wanted the park to look its best at all times. Forty hours were not enough, so he returned as a volunteer so the park was in mint condition.
Torres retired from his job with the town last year so the council hired a contractor. That lasted for approximately seven months.
Now without a caretaker, Torres told the mayor he would be glad to help again.
“He had been back about one month,” Cann said.
The lifelong resident spoke with his friend Dwight Mutschler just two hours before he died. Mutschler and other residents were shocked by his sudden death.
“He was a tremendous asset to the city and his death is a great loss,” Mutschler said.
He also served on the fire department since the volunteers reinstated the department again.
“He was a real nice man who will be missed,” said Sheriff Robert Bolcik.