The memorial service was at Muncie Baptist Church and included stories about my dad. Getting a chance to hear some friends and family tell their stories about my dad’s life was a fitting way for his life to be remembered as far as what I think he would have liked. He wanted to be cremated and spread around his farm, his farm being something he loved. Being away from it the last few years I’m sure was as tough on him than the disease that was robbing his memory.
Stories included tales from his childhood of money making plans with his favorite sidekick and cousin, Don, where they collected all the Pigeon’s from the barns in the area – thinking they could sell them as squab – then the cleaning the barn and shooing pigeons for weeks after when their parents found out.
My father’s time in the army amusing everyone but the officer’s tasked with training them. My father answering questions with darned if I know and earning everyone push ups for laughing… Throwing in comments, like save some for me, from the back of the chow line during the company picnics.
My cousin Larry told about my dad taking him hunting for his first time, a friend telling about meeting my dad and sending him down to Kentucky. I’m fairly certain I remember the trip he was talking about – my second grade year when we went down and got the dog Waldo from a friend’s dad in Kentucky. He had a tobacco farm and gave us tobacco leaves to bring back for show and tell. A friend of mine that made a special effort to come to talk about how much my dad had meant to her, and so much more!
I didn’t tell about my dad, fixing our brakes for our truck and having spare parts….. He pointed out Ford always includes extra parts…. I mentioned my dad getting the boys animals, we always had lots of animals growing up. My dad once noticed our deer had escaped (yep deer, we had buffalo too), and chased it through the field with a ramcharger. down to the end and back. He got out and was trying to wrestle it, when it pinned him with it’s antlers to the propane tank. Antlers on each side of him!
There are so many more stories, many that I don’t even know, but having a chance to meet up with family and share stories was the best way I could imagine to say goodbye to dad. I would have loved to speak to everyone and hear all their stories if time would have just been able to slow down for a little while.
June 29, 1940 – September 23, 2017
Oakwood – Robert Carl Richter, 77, of Oakwood, passed into peaceful rest at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, September 23, 2017 at Illini Heritage Rehab & Health in Champaign.
He was born on June 29, 1940 in Vance Twp. the son of Wesley Thomas & Mildred G. Eldridge Richter. He married his wife of 50 years Karen McArdle on February 4, 1967 in Westville, IL. She survives. Other survivors include 1 daughter, Karla (Dr. Keith) Andrew, 1 son, Robert Richter, and 3 grandsons, Kevin, Kristopher, and Konnor. Additionally he is survived by 2 sisters, Ethel Eichorst and Linda Richter; 1 brother, Tom Richter, as well as many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by 4 sisters, Dorothy Mitchell, Margaret Brothers Hersh, Cleta Fern Richter, and Norma McVey, and 2 brothers, Frank Richter and Howard Richter.
Bob was loved by everyone he met and never met a stranger, even talking himself out of a speeding ticket on his honeymoon and inviting the officer home to go fishing to boot. He lived, hunted deer and mushrooms, and farmed within miles of the family land which like his family, was always important to him.
Visiting my mother this weekend, we stopped for dinner at McDs. The local gathering point for everyone in Oakwood. While there we noticed two of my cousins having dinner – from my grandfather RIchter’s twin brother Lesley.
Getting a chance to talk to family is always high on my list! I let them know how dad was doing – not great, he wasn’t even speaking during our visit. I’m pretty sure my dad had no clue who I was. That’s never easy… I had just listened to a podcast (to get off topic) about how dementia patients can be retaught things at each stage. Talking to dad and telling him about what is going on around him, what’s happening with everyone from his life and the area should help keep some part of his mind available for a little while. I try so hard to remember while there that he may not react and may not know me or speak to me, but some part of his mind may have a spark of understanding of who I am and what I am telling him. Something to keep a little more grey cells alive a little longer in his brain…. Anyway back to cousins. My cousins were at dinner and we were talking about dad and the topic came up about DNA tests, family history and what our future looks like.
We have a lot of family members with a history of stroke. My dad also has damage from a car accident when he was in his teens, and several farm accidents… My cousin’s (at dinner) mother was the one that held my dad while he was bleeding after the accident. Their father was the twin to my grandfather… Strokes are something to keep in mind as we move forward. I know I don’t have the gene tested for late onset Alzheimer’s, but that’s totally different from Vascular Dementia.
Now with DNA tests you can be tested for all sorts of things that can be passed down. Luckily I found that everything that is currently in the companies list is not in my DNA, but as I mentioned to my family… I think if it had been I would then be very careful about who I told that I had been tested. My assumption is that sooner or later that data will make it out. Will it count against some people for insurance? I was lucky to be negative on everything. I can see a time though where kids who haven’t even been tested get denied for insurance because their parents were carriers for the — fill in the blank — gene. If the data is out there you have to assume that sooner or later it will be accessed. With the current climate my assumption is that it is even more likely. Your medical records already contain the answers to the questions – do you have a family history of? How long until it’s expanded to include do you know anyone that has a gene for? A company now is even offering free DNA testing to expand their database and research…. How long until the group that doesn’t know their full DNA make up is a minority?
While talking the topic of what happened to my grandfather came up. I was in grade school (2nd grade I think) It was Oct 30, 1974 and my grandfather had a stroke walking into his house. He was half in and half out. My parents didn’t let us come see and they took care of everything. My grandfather had a housekeeper that had been taking care of him as a live in. As he passed away each of the brothers and sisters had to be tracked down to let them know… of course no cell phones. My Aunt Linda was teaching and her principle drove her over, my Aunt Dorothy had her phone off the hook and a neighbor had to be asked to run over and let her know, and my Aunt Norma was just leaving for a tractor pull in a semi. Aunt Norma and Uncle Lloyd owned a trucking company, big purple trucks, and an employee was able to reach them by CB. His passing away had been a complete surprise…
I remember going down and having the Little Debbie Oatmeal pies and the crust off his pot pies. Those two things still remind me of him. I don’t remember much about him, except those two things and pictures, but I do remember those things. He would take the crust off his pot pie and give it to me at a formica table in the kitchen. The oatmeal pies I remember being in the living room. I do remember one other thing, but it could be from years later as my aunt Linda was living in the house…. Concord grapes growing on the vine in the front yard. To this day I still love concord grapes! I can distinguish the taste from all the other grapes, I have no clue any other type of grape.
My mom has stories about us going to my cousins (Harold and Olives) for Halloween that year while they planned everything. I don’t really remember that part, which is probably a good thing since I still enjoy Halloween. Living in the country it was rare for us to get to go trick or treating except to relatives houses. A couple years we got to go in to town and go door to door with friends. My mother tells stories about me answering peoples questions about whether we lived in Oakwood with ‘Nos’ since we lived out of town…. I now am faced with the same feeling I’m sure she felt when I take my youngest in to the parade in Oakwood. We have a place right outside town, we have been in the area forever, but anyone that asks if we live there and I know my son’s answer will be nope!