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Richard “Dick” Otto Weigel, 89, died peacefully on November 6, 2023, after three days at Kathy Hospice in West Bend, WI. A resident of the city of West Bend, Richard lived in the Washington County area for the past 47 years.
Born February 25, 1934, in the small farming village of Stratford, Wisconsin, in Marathon County, Richard learned early to value hard labor. He nearly always worked two or more jobs at a time. As a boy, Richard worked as a pin setter at a local bowling alley, hanging from the scaffolding above the pins while the bowling balls were being thrown. He would roll the ball back down the aisle to the player and reset the pins by hand. Throughout high school and beyond, he worked the night shift at a factory that processed wood panels. On June 2, 1952, he graduated from Marshfield High School, becoming the first member of his family to earn a diploma.
Richard was drafted into the army to serve during the occupation of Europe. After training in Fort Collins, Colorado, Richard was shipped overseas. He drove trucks all across Europe and northern Africa, delivering supplies and sometimes dignitaries from base to base. He didn’t actually have a base during that time; he lived in his truck. Most of Richard’s time in the Army was spent driving through France, Germany, and Morocco. Because his parents spoke German to each other, Richard grew up with a passable understanding of the language, which he used to help him communicate with the people he encountered along his route.
He met his sweetheart Betty Langhoff at a roller rink soon after he was discharged from the Army. They married October 24,1959, and briefly settled in Marshfield before moving into the Milwaukee area to be closer to where his two sisters lived. Richard worked for an auto body repair shop in Milwaukee as he and Betty raised five children. In 1976, Richard moved his family to Richfield, WI, where he was able to buy his own auto body repair shop, Bresson Auto Body.
While running his own business, Richard was always trying to learn more. He went to night school to learn refrigeration, air conditioning, and HVAC in order to expand the services he could provide his customers (as well as his extended family). Like his father before him, Richard was a keen inventor for his own purposes. Whatever mechanical problem he faced, he found a way to fix it, even if he had to create his own tools or parts to do it. He did not seek credit for his ideas, several of which were later adapted and claimed by others.
Richard had a longstanding love of airplanes, which his wife encouraged him to pursue. Despite routinely working more than 80 hours a week, Richard went to night school in 1979 to earn his pilot's license. He was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of flying. One of his proudest moments was flying his mother Mary up in an airplane before she died. With his wife by his side as navigator, Richard flew various small airplanes for nearly three decades.
Richard lived a long and full life, and provided stability and comfort for his family. He pursued excellence in his work, and took pride in a task well done. After 37 years of fixing and maintaining the cars, trucks, motorcycles, lawn mowers, snowblowers, fire trucks, ambulances, golf carts, and even airplanes that found their way to his shop, he conceded the need to slow his pace and sold Bresson Auto Body in 2013. He continued to stay busy with various home remodeling and landscaping projects and other work that he found meaningful. His advice was sought by those who knew him. He seemed to know a bit about everything, and was willing to help those around him.
He was preceded in death by both of his parents, Mary Gerl and Paul Weigel, his three brothers Harry, Victor, and Harold, his sister Dorothy Spiekerman, and his beloved wife of nearly fifty years, Betty.
He is survived by his five children: Dale (Kathy) Weigel of Hartford, Kathleen (Larry) Vinz of Beaver Dam, Kenneth Weigel of West Bend, Rick (Rosemary) Weigel of Fruitport, MI, and Ruth (Troy) Weigel-Sterr of Madison, as well as 18 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and his sister Eileen Weigel of Racine.
Richard’s family will greet relatives and friends from on Saturday, December 16, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. at St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception Church, 406 Jefferson Street, West Bend.
A Funeral Mass for Richard will follow visitation on Saturday at St. Mary's at 11:00 a.m. with Father Jacob Strand officiating the service.
The family wishes to thank Richard’s caregiver Gay Sullivan and Kathy Hospice for ensuring his last days were comfortable.
Myrhum-Patten Funeral & Cremation Service has been entrusted with Richard's arrangements. Additional information and guest book can be found at www.myrhum-patten.com.
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