Richard P. Niemer



On June 9, 2013, Richard Philip “Dick” Niemer, Sr., beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend, passed on peacefully, pausing only for one last hug and a private word with Dorothy, his treasured bride of 63 years and 11 months.

Dick was born in Cassville, Wisconsin, on May 26, 1926 to Joseph and Gertrude Scanlan Niemer. He grew up primarily in Portage, Wisconsin, where he excelled in academics and athletics. He attended Portage High School where he was a member of the Honor Society and a frequent participant in Boys State, as well as a clarinet player in the school band. A sharpshooting guard for the PHS basketball team, he earned the nickname “Deadeye Dick Niemer” for the accuracy of his outside shot.

Dick served in U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve from 1943 to1948, achieving the rank of Ensign. He received his Honorable Discharge in 1948.

In 1945 Dick took his impressive intellect and basketball skills to the University of Notre Dame, where he played varsity basketball for two years. He earned his degree in Automotive Engineering in 1948. During his time in South Bend, he developed a love for his school and its students, staff and educators that lead to his ardent (some might say annoying) love and support of his alma mater and its athletic teams that was prominent and ever-present for the rest of his days. His trips back to the Notre Dame campus for reunions, football games and business were always greatly anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed.

While at Notre Dame, Dick also met a comely lass from St. Mary’s College by way of Hinsdale, Illinois, the former Dorothy Helen Maher. She was to become the love of his life and constant companion for the next 65 years. Dick and Dorothy were married in Hinsdale on July 9, 1949, and immediately got busy churning out kids—eight of them over the next fifteen years.

After graduating, from Notre Dame, Dick earned a Masters of Automotive Engineering from the Chrysler Institute. After his time at Chrysler, he spent three years at the Ford Motor Company. Then, in 1958, he accepted a position with Boeing in the Aerospace Division. He and Dorothy packed up their lives and their (then) six kids and moved them half way across the country to the unexplored territory of Bellevue, Washington.

Dick and Dorothy jumped right into their new life, becoming deeply involved in their new church, Sacred Heart, and in the community. Dick was constantly involved in coaching kids in basketball, baseball and volleyball, and in serving his church in many ways and in many different capacities, most recently as a Eucharistic Minister. Dick spent the rest of his life in Bellevue and nearby Redmond.

Dick worked for Boeing for 35 years in a variety of capacities, all at the executive level. Never one to sit idle, his retirement in 1993 would have been less than welcome was it not for the other passion in his life: GOLF. Dick was an avid, if not (by his own admission) excellent golfer from the time he first picked up a club. He spent many a blissful hour on the tees, fairways and greens (not to mention rough) of his home course at the Overlake Golf and Country Club, where he was a member for more than half of his life. He recorded one of his two holes-in-one on June 15, 1994 on the 134 yard par-3 third hole at Overlake.

Dick’s extraordinary work ethic and his dedication to his family, his friends, his church, and his alma mater were, and will remain a constant source of inspiration and wonder to all who knew him. We are better for having known him. We are all diminished by his passing.

Dick is survived by his still-love struck wife Dorothy, his children Richard, Jr., Joe, Mary, Barb, Andy, Jim, Katey, and John; his grandchildren Christine, Michael, Nathan, Seth, Cappy, Tessa, McKenna, Jesse and Ben,; and his great grandchildren Alexander, Max, Analise, Boden, and Lucy.

The service to celebrate Dick’s life will be held at St. Jude’s Catholic Church on Friday, June 14, at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow, also at St. Jude’s. A rosary will be held at St. Jude’s at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, 2013.


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