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Richard A. Gill
May 30, 1933 ~ June 20, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old
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Richard Anthony Gill was born on May 30, 1933 in Littlefork, Minnesota to Irene (Wasner) Gill. He spent most of his youth in Waite Park and St. Cloud, Minnesota, where sports were a dominant influence in his formative years. He enjoyed baseball, boxing and swimming in local quarry holes in the summer, and played hockey and basketball in the winter months. As a high school junior, Richard went out for wrestling, weighing just 95 pounds. He went on to win Third Place in the State wrestling meet as a 103 pound senior, and later joined and competed on the wrestling team as a U.S. Navy sailor.
Richard graduated from St. Cloud Technical High School in 1951 and following his Navy service, he came to Newton, Iowa to visit a friend and was hired by the Maytag Company. He also met and married Glenda Smith in 1955 and had three daughters. While employed at Maytag, Richard went to night school at Drake University, earned a Basic Engineering degree and also studied Mathematics. He retired from Maytag as a Sr. Methods Engineer with 39.3 years of service.
Richard had a very strong work ethic from a young age. He had a paper route, made money selling scrap iron during World War II, and as he got older, set pins in the local bowling alley and worked as an usher in an outdoor drive-in theatre. As an adult, he became an experienced carpenter and built everything from birdhouses to bunk beds.
In his retirement years, he loved to travel and to share stories about his trips. His favorite destinations were Alaska and Europe. He was an avid tennis fan, followed collegiate wrestling and women’s basketball and St. Louis Cardinal baseball. Richard never forgot a name and had a remarkable memory that allowed him to remember the most granular of details. This made him an excellent story teller about his many and varied life experiences. He was a devoted father and grandfather, and loved spending time with his grandchildren. Richard was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and in his younger days, umpired Little League Baseball games.
Richard passed away on Tuesday, June 20 after a long battle with kidney disease and cancer at Cedar Ridge Village in West Des Moines. He was 90 years old. A celebration of life will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, June 26, 2023, at the Wallace Family Funeral Home and Crematory in Newton. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Unity Point Hospice may be left at the funeral home.
Those left to honor Richard’s memory include his daughters: Karen (Kirk) Leonard of West Des Moines, IA and Rhonda Webb (Jeff Darland) of Wentzville, MO; his seven grandchildren: Desiree (Brian) Maher of Des Moines; Jennifer (Todd) Karsten of Ankeny; Shera Morgan (Jesse Stielow) of Altoona; Courtney (JB) Conlin of West Des Moines; Ryan (Casey) O’Roake of Newton; Jamie (John) Tennyson of Wright City, MO; Josh O’Roake of West Des Moines; step-grandchildren: Brant (Nikki) Leonard of West Des Moines; Brynn (Kyle) Keller of Knoxville; his 10 great grandchildren; his sisters Clara Riley of St. Cloud, MN and Blanche Hagen of Coon Rapids, MN along with many nieces and nephews.
Richard was preceded in death by his mother, Irene Gill; daughter, Denise Briese, grandson, Joey Webb, and siblings Kenneth Gill, Audrey Thielman, and Frank Gill.
The family would like to thank the staff at Cedar Ridge Village and Unity Point Hospice for their loving care and support.