Richard Joseph Czapek
|Service: 11:00 am Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at St. Anne's Catholic Cemetery on Mackinac Island
Cemetery: St. Anne's Catholic Cemetery, 6836 Huron Road, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Memorials: To Emmanuel Hospice, 401 Hall Street, SW, Suite 263; Grand Rapids, MI 49503 https://emmanuelhospice.org/
Richard Joseph Czapek, age 90, passed away on June 26, 2020.
Born October 6, 1929 to parents and Polish immigrants Francis and Stanley Czapek, Richard “Dick” and his brother Elmer “El” grew up in Chicago and summered at Green Lake in Caledonia, MI. He joined the Coast Guard in December of 1950 and has shared an abundance of Coastie memories featuring travels, danger, and shenanigans with fellow shipmates. One of our favorite Coastie stories is set on Mackinac Island, where Dick was stationed to perform lighthouse maintenance. With a giant grin, Dick would tell us how his buddy double-booked dates with two different Island girls. He overheard his buddy Howie on the phone explaining to Demariest Horn that he wouldn’t be able to make their date on the account of it was raining too hard. Dick waited until the call was disconnected and called Dee right up and asked her out that night. She’ll tell you that to this day she’s never seen anyone more handsome and hunkier than Dick Czapek.
They married quickly and couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. Children Steven (Jeanne), (Sue), Michael (Mary), Kathy (Tim Hamlin), and Ray (Lisa) joined them in that order.
Dick and Dee set up their household in Grand Rapids, MI, or rather the suburb of Kentwood. They were charter members of St. Mary Magdalen Church and Dick enjoyed time with the Knights Of Columbus.
The Czapek household was always bustling with teenagers as they hosted Dee’s younger siblings Ed, Doug, Joe, Candy, and Tim while they attended high school in G.R. Dick worked for International Paper as a printer and head honcho for over 30 years.
They began to travel to Gulf Shores, AL, for three months each winter, staying in the same condo where they and their guests could watch the bay for dolphins from the patio and make the scenic 45 minute drive to devour the best Strawberry Shortcake around.
In 1986 Dick and Dee sold their Kentwood home and moved to their retirement residence on Mackinac Island, the family jokes that neither of them were ready to retire. Dick was soon using his “Jack-of-all-trades” and can-do attitude to work for the city’s public works and as a custodial/maintenance man for Mackinac Island Public School. He quickly became one of the go-to guys for getting and keeping things around the island in ship-shape. Because the island runs on volunteerism, Dick gladly stepped into roles of ambulance driver and EMT, Lions Club board member, and what might have been his favorite, City Councilman. He beat out that rascal (and good friend) Gene Arbib in the election.
Island life suited Dick and Dee just fine. He could be found most nights eating pistachios on the front porch with a friend, often one of his brothers or father in-law or grandchildren, while Dee was off visiting with ladies. You’d have no trouble finding Dick downtown during the day on his bike, chatting and laughing with friends, and at bingo twice a week.
As island life became more difficult for their aging bodies to maneuver, Dick and Dee decided to sell their island home and truly retire back downstate. They spent 20 years enjoying time closer to life’s conveniences and many of their children and grandchildren, and continuing their snowbird lifestyle. Most days included an outing to lunch. Dick enjoyed caretaking his landscape and feathered friends, tinkering with things in the garage, and chatting with neighbors.
Dick and Dee have spent the past few years in the loving care of their son and daughter-in-law, Ray and Lisa, surrounded by new great-grand babies to love and adore, in Empire, MI.
Dick is survived by his devoted wife and children and their spouses, grandchildren: Misty (John) Steinhauer, Robyn Gransow, Matt (Aubrey)Czapek, Justin (Jessica) Czapek, Hayley (Brent) Bomgaars, Roy Czapek, Ashleigh Czapek, Mandy Czapek, James (Christina) Czapek, Joey (Alexis) Czapek, and Anthony Czapek, Lance Gransow and great-grandchildren: Abby, Jalen, Emmy, Jacoby, Elle, Connor, Jaxson, Beckett, Dawson, Henrik, Hudson, Oliver, Stella.
Fondly called “Gramps” by his grandchildren, they know him as the strongest man they’ve ever known, in all things: physical, intelligence, craft, family, and community.
We’ll all fondly remember piling into the station wagon (and later the Suburban) for road trips and treats with this most hospitable, loving and caring man.
Richard is preceded in death by his parents, in-laws, Ty and Ling Horn, brother, Elmer and sister-in-law, Edith, nephew, Doug, niece, Diane, brother-in-law, Bill Smith, niece, DeeDee Russel, brother-in-law, Grant Simmons, great-nephew, Michael, and brother-in-law, Doug Horn.
A graveside service will be held in Ste. Anne’s Catholic Cemetery on Mackinac Island at 11 am on Wednesday, July 1.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Richard may be made to Emmanuel Hospice.
STROO FUNERAL HOME
1095 68TH ST SE
GRAND RAPIDS, MI 49508