Richard “Dick” Milton Stickrod, 87, passed away March 25, 2020, reuniting for eternity with his beloved wife of 65-plus years, Jean Marie Stickrod.
Dick was born April 27, 1932, in Evanston, IL, where he met Jean in the fourth grade. They graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1950. Dick’s fondest memory of ETHS was senior year, when he was cast as Pish-Tush to Jean’s Yum-Yum in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado, directed by beloved music teacher and mentor, Miss Sadie Rafferty. Dick remained active on reunion committees and was a loyal supporter of ETHS alumni and sport teams throughout his life.
He attended the University of Illinois-Navy Pier prior to marrying Jean in 1953 and joining the U.S. Army. During the Korean conflict, Dick was posted to Berlin, Germany, B-Company, as part of the post-WWII reconstruction period. He returned to Jean in Evanston, where they began their family and Dick began work at the family business, North Shore Talking Machine Company, purveyors of early televisions. They bought their first house in Wheeling, IL.
In the Evanston business community, Dick was well-known and active in the Rotary and Optimist clubs. He changed careers in the mid-70s, moving into banking, where he was a popular and trusted personal banker at First National Bank of Evanston. Dick retired from the Bank in 1994 at the age of 62, and continued his active involvement at the First United Methodist Church of Arlington Heights, where he served as Head Usher for many years.
In 2001, Dick and Jean moved to Fleming Island, FL, to be nearer to family, and Dick continued his involvement with the Church, joining Orange Park United Methodist. Known for his sunny smile and good nature when manning the sound booth, Dick served on various committees throughout his 20 years of service.
A prolific emailer and “keeper of the flame” for several online pet projects and friend groups, Dick continued reaching out to people all the way into the pandemic, including Evanston High School, B-Company and Tenth Mountain Division alumni. He singlehandedly kept alive international communications among the Walker family still living in Jean’s ancestral home of Northern Ireland.
Nothing pleased Dick more than contact with friends, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or to hear from his sister Jo Anne and her loved ones in Northern California and Colorado. He was as proud of his family as he was for having served in the U.S. Army. As sad as he was after Jean’s death in 2018, Dick’s final years were filled with dignity, joy and love. With his son, Bob, by then living with him, and his daughter, Kim and her husband Tom, close by, he felt blessed to have family by his side for the closing moments of a life well lived. Dick was buried next to Jean at Jacksonville National Cemetery.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Pearl (Blaker) Stickrod; sister, Linda Irene; and aunt, Kay (James) Wilson.
He is survived by his sister, Jo Anne (John) Nash of Elk Grove, CA; his children, Kim (Tom) Eckhardt and Bob Stickrod, both of Fleming Island; his grandchildren, Doug (Stephanie) Eckhardt of Alpharetta, GA, Chrissie (Nathan) Gallentine of Atlanta, GA, Greg (Tessa) Eckhardt of Chattanooga, TN, Kate (Ryan) Harlan of Atlanta and Jessie Stickrod of Seattle, WA; great- grandchildren, Emily and Sadie Eckhardt, Naya, Eden and Rhys Gallentine, Ben Eckhardt and Rory Harlan; several nephews and nieces, and countless friends and family, both here and abroad.
A “Celebration of Life” memorial service for Dick will be held on Saturday, July 3, 2021, 10:00 a.m., at Orange Park United Methodist Church, 2051 Park Avenue, Orange Park, FL.
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