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Dick Vine, 83, Ceres fuel distributor, dies
Richard "Dick" Vine, who took over his father's fuel business and built it into a large Exxon distributorship in Central California, died June 1 of congestive heart failure. He was 83.

Funeral services were held Monday at the Modesto Masonic Center.

Dick Vine got involved in E.R. Vine & Sons, Inc., in Ceres after he returned from service in the Army during World War II. Born in Modesto in 1927 to Ellis Richard and Lena Agusta Vine, he lived in Modesto (1945-46) and Ceres. E.R. Vine founded the petroleum distributorship in Ceres in 1932 after failing at the grocery business. Dick and his brother, Don Vine, grew the business. It was his passion.

"We thought he was never going to retire," said daughter Risse Keyes, the CFO of the firm. "He came down every day to keep checking on us at work. He kept actively interested in the business. Technically he was president up until his death. I wouldn't say he retired; he backed off. This business was his lifeblood."

Mr. Vine found the greatest enjoyment driving trucks to make fuel deliveries. "He really did drive all of the areas," said Keys. "He absolutely hated to be pulled off the truck and work in the office. He was a people person and he was a visionary."

The highlight of his Dick's life was when E.R. Vine & Sons became a distributor for Exxon. "He thought he really arrived when we became an Exxon distributor. That's when they became a full blown distributor."

Mr. Vine's gregarious personality and joke telling him earned him friends everywhere, said Keys.

"There's no regrets," she said. "He had a full life."

In fact, the family plans to engrave the following Mae West quote on his headstone: "You only live once but if you do it right, once is enough."

When he wasn't working, Dick enjoyed wildlife, hunting ducks, fishing and staying in touch with others through e-mail. Mr. Vine belonged to Ducks Unlimited, and The Old Fisherman's Club. He supported the Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center. He was a former member of the Masonic Lodge, and a past Board Member of the California Independent Oil Marketers. Dick also was a member of Grace Lutheran Church.

He leaves behind two daughters, Risse Keys of Ceres, and Kristi Colbert of Arcata; his stepson, Matt Lindsey; his brother, Don Vine and sister-in-law Janice; former wife and business partner, Mildred Vine; former wife Patricia Black; his grandchildren, Kenny Keys, Katie Keys, Thomas Colbert, and Ryan Colbert; two great-grandchildren, Carly Keys and Noah Keys; and step-grandson, Jonathan Lindsey.

Remembrances may be sent to Alexander Cohen Hospice House, 2001 Euclid Ave., Hughson CA 95326 or Stanislaus Wildlife Care Center, P.O. Box 298 Hughson, CA 95326.