Richard John Rehmer of Appleton, WI, passed away peacefully on Saturday, July 11th (Cottonwood Heights, UT). He was cared for at home until the end by his wife of 60 years, Mary Jo, and was surrounded by the love of his four children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. Cleo (Penny, Nicholas, and Jacob), Tony (Laurie, Holden, Eli and Gabe), Joe (Elaine, Zoe, and Lexi), and Polly (Abigale and Amanda) have such fond memories of the man we called Dad and Papa. Certainly, the greatest gift our father gave us, and one for which we will be eternally grateful, is his commitment to family. He hugged and kissed often, and taught us the meaning of the words, “I love you”, saying them regardless of the situation at hand. “Family” became the bedrock of our lives due in no small part to our father who would drop anything he was doing to help us through a crisis, be a listening ear, provide guidance, or show up ‘just because’. We were the greatest accomplishment of his life, and he took every opportunity to make sure we knew what we meant to him. He loved our spouses and welcomed them into the family with open arms. His grandchildren held an extra special place in his heart as well, and he cherished each and every moment with them recognizing and enjoying the similarities to his own children – he loved being their Papa. He always had a big smile and a kind word for everyone, was very patient, and knew the names of each and every one of our childhood friends – recalling them even in his later years as he loved to tell stories and reminisce.
While not the handiest with his carpentry skills, he tried, and was very creative in his efforts – some of our favorites are the flower pot lamps, and the milk jug lamps. He had an incredible work ethic that we still admire to this day. We always joked about Dad “taking notes” and “writing everything down” to stay organized – it is amazing to see how all of us find ourselves doing the same thing in running our own homes and families. Dad was the softie in the family – we knew who to go to for permission or forgiveness. Other memories that bring smiles to our faces, or pull at our heart strings, are: the trip back from California, trips to Wisconsin in the station wagon (that he packed with utmost efficiency), catching Mom falling from the ladder in Indiana, eating a jalapeno he thought was a bean, his love of watching us compete in sporting events, his dislike of hikes, painting the furniture gold, painting our driveway green, playing Sheep’s Head with Grandma and Grandpa, “Gleeb”, stopping by his office on the BGSU campus between classes to say “hi”, embellished genealogy, creating jewelry from old coins (that he was sure we would want to wear), thousands of games of Rummy Cube and Pinochle, speaking at Cleo’s wedding, and always putting our needs ahead of his own.
To say he will remain in our hearts forever is an understatement. His undying devotion to family is his legacy, and one we will cherish the rest of our lives. We miss you already, Dad. Rest in peace.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration.