Dr. Richard Lee Stolsmark


March 1, 1937 - Aug. 28, 2009



Dr. Richard Lee Stolsmark, 72, died Friday, Aug. 28, 2009, in Mesa, Ariz., from complications of Lou Gehrigís disease.


He was born in Webster, S.D., on March 1, 1937, to Leonard and Charlotte (Peterson) Stolsmark. He graduated as salutatorian of the Holmen Class of 1955. He served in the U.S. Air Force and Reserves. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education mathematics: physics/chemistry; received his master of art from Louisiana State University in mathematics and earned a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in educational administration.


He taught in the Waukesha public school system, working as director of kindergarten through 12th grade math/sciences, which included writing and receiving a grant to build a planetarium for the Waukesha School District. Dr. Stolsmark then served as the Watertown director of instruction and superintendent of schools until his retirement in 1992. While in Watertown, he implemented the gifted and talented programs and served on numerous boards and commissions during his educational career. He owned and operated a laundromat business from 1974 to 1977 and was a silent partner in his sonís karate studios.


After his retirement, he moved to Florida, where he actively served in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, working tirelessly in the field of recruitment for the Coast Guard Academy. He served as district staff officer for career counseling, recruiting students from the 7th District Coast Guard to summer programs at the academy in New London, Conn. He led his local auxiliary as the flotilla commander; taught Coast Guard classes, including advanced navigation; worked in the boat coxswain program; and served as honor guard. He was a member of the Retreads Motorcycle Group, enjoying many cross country trips with them, which included riding in runs to support the Shrinerís Hospital in Tampa, Fla., and the moving Memorial Wall for fallen Vietnam service members. He enjoyed many activities and proudly accomplished a 1,700-mile bicycle trip from Wisconsin to Florida, and navigated and piloted his boat from Florida to Wisconsin and back using the inland water system. He enjoyed reading, playing golf, watching old Western movies and the Green Bay Packers. He loved teaching and his family, had an amazing sense of humor and loved a good time, of which he had many, evidenced by the numerous stories told by his many friends and family.


He and his wife moved to Gold Canyon in 2005, following a season of way too many hurricanes in Florida.


He is survived by his wife, Jean of Gold Canyon; son, Neil (Leonora) of Waukesha; stepdaughter, Karla Abplanalp (Chris Evenson) of Lake Mills; stepson, Ryan Abplanalp (Darleen) of Wolcott, Ind.; five step-grandchildren; three step-great-grandchildren; ex-wife, Marion Koch of Oconomowoc; sister-in-law, Sandra Stolsmark of Masaryktown, Fla.; two nieces; a nephew; and many friends and other relatives.


He was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Jeremy; and two brothers, Leonard Charles and Dean.


Wyman Funeral Home of Mesa, Ariz., handled his cremation. There will be no funeral service.


A special thank you to the Gold Canyon Fire and Rescue squads for their assistance over the past months and his ALS team of professionals.


Donations to cure ALS would be appreciated.