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Richard's Story

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Richard E. Schlecht, 101, passed away peacefully in his sleep at home, Saturday morning, Sept. 16, 2017.
A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Danville Country Club, 2718 Denmark Road, Danville, IL 61834. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. A reception will follow the service.
Richard, also known as "Dick," was born in Hoopeston, Ill., on Dec. 23, 1915, to Louis "Louie" and Mary Ernst Schlecht.
Richard and his three siblings moved to Rossville in his elementary years. Richard graduated from Rossville High School and then attended Northwestern University, graduating from its Commerce School, Class of 1938. He was an active member of Sigma Chi Fraternity and was selected as a member of the 2017 Class of Significant Sigs, one of the highest honors of Sigma Chi Fraternity.
Richard also was in the Navy ROTC Program at Northwestern. Richard volunteered to join the Navy in September 1940. His sea duty in the Navy covered both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of the war, serving onboard the destroyers USS O'Brien and the USS Nields. Richard served in the Navy until March 1946, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Following his Navy service, he returned to the family business, Rossville Packing Company, a vegetable canning business, becoming president and sole owner of the company in 1964. Richard was a board member of the Illinois Canners Association and National Canners Association from 1946 to 1979, serving as chairman of the Illinois Canners Association for several years. The cannery was sold in 1979, at which time the company became solely a farming operation.
Dick was very active in the Rossville community, serving on the Rossville School Board for over 20 years and as board president for 10 years; as a volunteer Rossville fireman for many years; and as a 4-H leader. He also was involved in the Vermilion County/Danville community, serving over two decades on the board of directors of Lakeview Medical Center, on the foundation board of Danville Junior College and the Danville Symphony Board. In March 2008, Richard was elected to the Rossville, Ill., Community Organization Hall Of Fame.
Throughout his life, Richard enjoyed being outdoors, especially working with the soil. He loved his Canadian fishing trips with family and friends spanning over 60 years, along with his travels throughout the world with his wife, Mary.
Mary and Richard were partners, best friends, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents for 66 years. Mary died in April 2012. They will now be re-united.
Family Survivors: include his four children and their families:
- Stephen and Marianne Schlecht of Waunakee, Wis.; their two children, Stephanie and Adam Croan; great-grandsons, Leo and Nico Croan, Ricker and Keri Schlecht; and great-granddaughter, Louise Schlecht.
- Elizabeth "Liz" and Stephen Murrill of Wilmette, Ill.; their three children, Mark and Adrienne Murrill and great grandson, Jack, and great granddaughter, Claire; Mary and Garrett Smith and great-grandsons, Parker and Henry, and Matthew and Lauren Murrill.
- David Schlecht and Christine Dehnel, fiancé,' of Sparta, N.J., and David's two sons, Ross and Cole.
- Mark and Rebecca Schlecht of Rossville, Ill., and their three children, Sarah, Stephen, David and Kendra Schlecht.
Messages and memories may be left on our website at www.papefuneral.com, or on the Pape Family Funeral Home Facebook page. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in honor of Richard's life to the following:
- Danville Area Community College, "Richard and Mary Schlecht Scholarship", 2000 E. Main St. Danville, IL 61832
The remaining donations should include, "In memory of Richard E. Schlecht":
- Gifts can be made in his memory to "Northwestern University," to support Naval ROTC or the KELLOGG School of Management. Send to Northwestern University, 28274 Network Place, Chicago, IL 60673-1282
- Rossville United Methodist Church, 116 Maple S., Rossville IL 60963
Published on September 19, 2017
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