Richard H. Stephan
Sept. 12, 1926 - Dec. 2, 2012
Richard H. Stephan, 86, of Dousman, entered into eternal life Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, at AngelsGrace Hospice in Oconomowoc, after an extended battle with leukemia. He departed from his life just as he had lived it - caring, giving and with strength of will and humility. He will be truly missed but never forgotten, and always present in our hearts.
Richard was born Sept. 12, 1926, in Dousman, the eighth child of 10 to Frank and Elizabeth (nee Ehrlich) Stephan. During his youth in the 1930s, he helped on the family farm located on Wilson Avenue, just east of his own home of 63 years. Although his records all show his formal schooling ended at eighth grade, Richard never stopped learning or educating himself. An avid reader, creative thinker and problem solver, he also proved himself skilled in the trade of carpentry and maintenance, while providing more than 20 years of service as building and grounds chairman at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.
In 1944, Richard entered the U.S. Naval Reserves, where he was stationed on a troop transport ship in which he saw seven trips across the Pacific Ocean during the final years of World War II. This active duty as a carpenter’s mate 3rd class led him to his work as a laborer with the Dousman Lumber Yard and 25 years at Fiberesin Plastics in Oconomowoc.
Throughout his life, Richard was earnestly dedicated to his community, volunteering his time to help the small town of Dousman that he loved so much. After joining the Dousman Fire Department on Feb. 7, 1947, he served as an officer for 48 years and was a hard-working and dedicated EMT from 1978 to 2011. He was dynamically involved as an active member, vice commander and commander of the American Legion Post #405, where he served as blood bank chairperson and he and his wife, Frances, placed Memorial Day flags on four of the community’s cemeteries for more than 50 years. He was involved in the local 4-H club as woodworking, gardening and photography leader and was an active member of St. Mary's Church, where he worked diligently to rebuild pews, maintain walks, lawns and parked cars for the Strawberry Festival and was instrumental in purchasing the pews for the new, present day St. Mary’s church building.
Richard was preceded in death by his father, Frank Stephan; mother, Elizabeth Stephan; sisters, Dorothy Pynakker, Edith Stephan and Bette Lean; and brothers, Albert Stephan, Walter Stephan, Robert Stephan, Norman Stephan and John Henry Stephan (infancy).
He is survived by his loving and cherished wife of nearly 63 years, Frances (nee Hopkins) of Dousman; beloved sister, Mabel Finney of Eagle; five children, James (Barbara) Stephan of Waukesha, Elaine (Michael) Rolens of Wichita Falls, Texas, Kathleen (Jeffery) Stapleton of Cottage Grove, Diane (Steve) Jurasewicz of Kenosha and Thomas Stephan (Shiela Miskowski) of Oconomowoc; five grandchildren, Colleen (Bob) Thill of Sheboygan, Melissa Rolens of Fort Collins, Colo., Michael (AJ) Rolens Troy, Mich., Adam (Marie) Stapleton of Sun Prairie and Suzanne (Dylan) Stapleton-Anderson of Cottage Grove; and three great-grandchildren, Kylar Rolens of Troy, Jayden Thill of Sheboygan and Katelynn Rolens of Fort Collins. He is further survived by his sisters-in-law, Joanne Keller and Marjorie Stephan. He will be remembered and missed by his many nieces and nephews and special family friends.
Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today, Dec. 6, at Pagenkopf Funeral Home, 1165 E. Summit Ave., Oconomowoc. Visitation will continue from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. service Friday, Dec. 7, at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Dousman. Burial with military honors will immediately follow at Summit Cemetery.
Deep appreciation and gratitude to the staff of ProHealth Home Care and Hospice and AngelsGrace Hospice for their loving care and concern of Richard during his final days.
Memorials in Richard's name may be directed to the St. Mary's Building Fund or to the Dousman Fire Department.
Pagenkopf Funeral Home is serving the family. For more information, call 567-4457 or visit www.pagenkopf.com.