Mr. Schmitz retired as an engineer from IDOT (Illinois Department of Transportation) after 36 years of service. He was a 1958 graduate of Belleville Township High School, a graduate of Belleville Junior College, and a 1963 graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, IL. Richard loved fishing, hunting, gardening, and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Melvin and Gladys, nee Sowels, Schmitz.
Surviving are his wife, Rita, nee Callaghan, Schmitz;
two sons, Robert (Tiffany) Schmitz of Ledyard, CT,
and Andrew (Annie) Schmitz of Freeburg, IL;
four grandchildren, Connor, Owen, Lilly, and Avery;
a brother, Thomas Schmitz of Belleville, IL;
a sister, Carol (Donald) Poole of Bonne Terre, MO;
a nephew, Steven Poole;
an uncle, Norman Sowels of Belleville, IL;
cousins, Vicky (Richard) Kalert, Claudia (Craig) Hubbard,
Dianne (Rick) Sieben, and Jerry (Bonnie) Sowels;
and his beloved canine companions, Brutus, Dell, Kirby, and Levi.
Memorials may be made to the Wheelin’ Sportsmen, sponsored by the NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation) or to Canine Companions for Independence, a Wounded Veterans Initiative. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL.
Funeral: Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 10, 2016, at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Valhalla Gardens of Memory, Belleville, IL.
I am deeply saddened by the passing of a dear friend, classmate and buddy. Rita may you and and your fanily find comfort with the knowledge of the many good times spent with Dick. May ourheavenly be with you in your time of need.
Edward L. Knirlberger, Mt. Carroll, IL, 61053
Richard fought a long brave battle. God bless him and you all with peace knowing how much love you shared.
Aunt Margaret and Cousin Carole Kay, Belleville, IL, 62220
Dick fought a long hard battle. I prefer to remember the days that he played at Mel’s club house with Jerry, Tom and me. It was hard to see the outstanding football player suffer in a wheelchair. Now he is free. Cousin Judy K.
Judy Nave, Anderson, Indiana, 46013
So very sorry to hear that Richard has passed. I am so glad there are people closer than we are to comfort my dear cousin Rita. Warm wishes & memories of a great guy who was always a pleasure to talk to. Valhalla is a lovely peaceful place to rest…
Peggy & Ron Brem, Bakersfield, California, 93309
Rita and family, my deepest sympathy to you all for your loss. Draw strength from all your good and loving memories in your life as a family. May he rest in peace.
Bob Bargiel, Maryville, Illinois, 62062
Our sincere condolences for the loss of Rich. Rita, Robert & Andy, you are in our prayers. Absence from the body is presence with the Lord. God Bless you all. Charlie & Tonie Hampton
Tonie Hampton , Fairview Heights , Il, 62208
He was not a big physical presence…but the size of his heart and determination made up for it. Ritchie was an important part of our winning 1960 Millikin football team, and our undefeated 1961 team. When we played a Wayne State, Detroit team that was an average of 25 pounds bigger than we were, Ritchie stuck his nose in there, got in a fight with a 6’5″ center, and inspired us to go from losing 7 to 0, to winning 20 to 7. We were a close bunch, and we feel his loss too.
Co-Captain, Millikin football 1960 and 1961
Ryan Jorstad, Baxter, TN, 38544
Andy and Annie,
You have our deepest sympathy in the loss of your father. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Please express our sympathy to your mother also.
Mike and Pam Olson, Freeburg, Illinois, 62243
Poncho and I send you our deepest condolences. While we didn’t know Richard personally, I know that you cared deeply for him. Hoping that you have all the support you need during this sad time.
Dee Dee Funk, Marissa, IL, 62257
My cousin Dick, was the big brother I never had. I looked up to him for teaching me so many important things like being determined to win, hunting and fishing experiences that I would have never done without him always taking me and mostly paying for it, and character traits that carried me through Viet Nam. I love him and owe him much of my life.
Always in my thoughts
Bonnie and Jerry
Norman(Jerry) Sowels and Bonnie, Hemphill, Texas, 75948
Dick taught me and a lot of other engineers and technicians the ins and outs of highway construction. My condolences to Rita and Dick’s sons. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
Geri Boyer, Belleville, IL, 62220