Rich is survived by one brother – Frank (Barbara) and three children – Bonnie (James), Rich Jr. (Claudia), and Howard (Niecie). He is also survived by four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Here are some of our favorite memories.
Holidays and family dinners were very important to Rich. He would set the table with all the good dishes, the wine glasses, and multiple plates and saucers. At Easter, he made homemade Polish sausage. He ground the meat and added spices to make his mom’s recipe from the old country. He would also make his famous cheesecake. Not everyone liked the cheesecake since it was made with cottage cheese. But if someone didn’t like it, he’d always say, “Good! More for me!”
Christmas was especially important. Rich built and painted a life-size sleigh and reindeer for the front yard. Each year, he set up a miniature winter village at the base of the Christmas tree and then set up railroad tracks and a model train to circle it. Decorations were prolific. And Rich made his own Christmas cards.
Rich’s prized possessions? One was his personalized birthday card from the pope for his 90th birthday. But his very most prized possessions were his family and his beloved wife of 49 years, Shirley. Rich and Shirley met at a community center. She was there to play tennis. He was there to square dance. The two loved to travel and saw most of the U.S. together. Interestingly, it wasn’t the destination, but how they traveled that was the attraction. They especially liked traveling on riverboats and trains.
Describe Rich in a single word? Chatty! He talked to strangers everywhere. Often, those conversations would be to tell people about his favorite singer, Vera Lynn. If the conversations lasted long enough, he’d play some of her music for them.
Rich’s fun accomplishments? He got a hole-in-one golfing in Chicago. He has a trophy and a certificate to prove it. Rich was also an active square dancer and caller for the Square Halos. His favorite song was “What Would Robinson Crusoe Do With Friday on a Saturday Night?” He was also a bowler for over 70 years and bowled at various times on a league with his sons, grandson, and son-in-law.
Rich’s more serious accomplishments? He was a devoted member of the Notre Dame Catholic Parish for over 60 years. He was in the service in Korea. He worked his entire engineering career (38 years) at Western Electric, where he worked first in Chicago and later in Denver. Rich was also quite knowledgeable about Apple products. He liked to ask questions to stump the Apple store personnel and the store asked him more than once to teach some classes.
Rich’s quirks? (Not that ours aren’t quirkier.) His linen closet was converted into a jigsaw puzzle closet for his vast collection. He put hundreds together each year. Another quirk was that he rarely missed an opportunity to tell the family that his favorite movie was Casablanca. When playing Charades, the family would immediately guess “Casablanca” before he even stood up to act it out.
Was Rich perfect? No, he could be quite stubborn – and he was pretty awful at Charades.
We love him. We miss him.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to:
Notre Dame Catholic Parish
2190 South Sheridan Blvd.
Denver, CO 80219
Wounded Warrior Project
P.O. Box 758516
Topeka, KS 66675-8516