Richard J. Oelhafen, 72
Richard (“Dick”) John Oelhafen, 72, passed away on April 23, 2015, after a brief illness. Dick was born on June 2, 1942, in West Bend to the late John Jacob Oelhafen and the late Mary Hauschel Oelhafen Smith.
Dick grew up on a farm in Slinger. For his high school years, Dick attended boarding school at Northwestern Preparatory School in Watertown, where he excelled in sports, particularly basketball, and played the cornet in the band. He earned a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration in 1964. He was also a proud member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and he maintained those friendships throughout his life.
During one of his summers during college, he met the love of his life, Betty, who was performing summer mission work with the National Council of Churches for migrant workers in rural Wisconsin. Dick moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1964 to work for Wausau Insurance Co. and to be closer to Betty. Dick and Betty married on June 19, 1965. Dick worked for two insurance brokerage firms, Johnson & Higgins and Marsh & McLennan, and most recently, he was a senior vice president with Marsh & McLennan.
Dick was someone who loved coming to work everyday and the friendships that it brought. He was a widely admired member of the insurance community in Charlotte. Dick was active in numerous civic, charitable and professional organizations, often serving in leadership roles. For many years, he taught insurance classes for the insurance industry and served as a past president of the Charlotte chapter of the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter Society. Dick also served on the board of directors for Kids Chance of North Carolina. He was a devoted, 50-year member of Myers Park United Methodist Church and was one of the founders of the Builders Sunday school class.
Dick greatly enjoyed sports, both as a spectator and as a participant; he was an active golfer at Myers Park Country Club, where he also enjoyed serving on the membership committee, and a member of the Sportsman’s Club of Charlotte. He also enjoyed spending time at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, where he and Betty have had a beach house for the last 16 years.
More than anything, however, Dick loved simply spending time with his family and his many friends. He found no greater enjoyment than watching his two children and six grandchildren play sports and instruments, perform in recitals and plays, and generally pursue whatever interests they chose. He loved spending time with his extended family and was cherished as a loving brother, brother-in-law and uncle by all of the members of his extended family. Dick’s positive outlook on life and concern for others inspired all who knew him, and he will be deeply missed.
Dick is survived by his devoted wife of 50 years, Betty Treece Oelhafen; his son, Richard John Oelhafen Jr. and his wife, Alvina Ma Oelhafen; his daughter, Lisa Oelhafen Peterson and her husband, Jeffrey Lynne Peterson; his grandchildren, Richard Oelhafen III, Christina Oelhafen, Henry Oelhafen, Caroline Peterson, Taylor Peterson and Ashton Peterson; his brother, Russell Oelhafen and his wife, Janice; his sister, Karen Johann and her husband, Ronald; his sister-in-law, Julia Hudson, and her husband, Coy; his brother-in-law, Lanny Treece and his wife Danielle; his stepbrother, Richard Smith and his wife, Jenny; and his stepsister, Jan Bicknell and her husband, John.
There was a private committal service prior to the memorial service. The memorial service was held on Monday, April 27, 2015, at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary at Myers Park United Methodist Church, with a reception for family and friends immediately following in Jubilee Hall. Memorials may be made to Myers Park United Methodist Church and to the Builders Class at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC 28207. Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral Director Licensee, 704-641-7606.