Richard “Dick” Blaess

Tuesday, September 8, 2015 3:07 pm

Richard “Dick” Blaess, 78, of Burr Oak, died Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, at the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis. Funeral services are at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, at Cresco Community Chapel, Cresco, with Rev. Mike Simiele officiating. Music includes “The Old Rugged Cross”; “In the Garden” (by Kathy Hoffert); and “He Leadeth Me” (an instrumental medley by Janna Vaalemoen and Mike Simiele).

Casket bearers are Darren Elwood, Darrek Elwood, Bryan Mincks, Trevor Mincks, Richard D. “Richie” Blaess and Matthew Blaess. Honorary casket bearers are Renae Elwood, Heather Schultz, Garrett Schultz, Anna Blaess and Ryan Blaess. Interment is at Burr Oak Cemetery in Burr Oak.

Richard Carl “Dick” Blaess was born June 24, 1937, the son of Richard L. and Doris (Blomgren) Blaess in Decorah. Dick attended Fremont No. 5 Country School near the St. Agnes-Plymouth Rock, west of Burr Oak. He graduated from Harmony High School, in Harmony, Minn. He worked at Maynard Hovden’s Phillips 66 in Ridgeway. He was united in marriage to Phylliss Thorson Jan. 9, 1960, at the Burr Oak Lutheran Church, and they were blessed with four children. Dick worked for Martinal Motors in Waterloo, for a few years. They returned to Burr Oak in 1963, where Dick opened Blaess Repair, which he operated for several years. In 1971, Dick went to work for the North Winneshiek School District as the bus superintendent and bus mechanic. He retired in 1999.

Dick had many interests throughout his life. In his early years, he enjoyed stock car racing. He enjoyed the outdoors and and took part in fishing, camping and hunting. Among other things, he was very inventive and enjoyed all kinds of hands-on work. He cherished the time that he spent with his  family and grandchildren. Most importantly, Dick was a Godly man who enjoyed reading the Bible. He was an active member of the Cresco Community Chapel, serving as an Elder and an Awana leader. Dick will be remembered for being a kind, patient and honest man, and will be missed dearly.
Dick is survived by his wife, Phyllis Blaess, Burr Oak; four children: Lori (Darrell) Elwood, Decorah,; Terri (Marlan) Mincks, Waukon; Deborah “Debbie” (Mark) Schultz, Owensboro, Ky.; and Richard M. “Rich” (Lisa) Blaess, Decorah; 11 grandchildren: Darren, Renae and Darrek Elwood, Bryan (Angela) Mincks, Trevor Mincks, Heather and Garrett Schultz, Richard D. “Richie”, Matthew, Anna and Ryan Blaess; Dick’s siblings: Donna (friend, Lee Eberling) Knoke, Decorah; Darold (Arlene) Blaess, Canton, Minn.; Jean (friend, Terry Shedd) Florian, Akron, Colo.; and George (Caraline) Blaess, St. Paris, Ohio; one brother-in-law, Lynn Kerns, New Hampton; two aunts, Mabel Hovden, Tucson, Ariz. and Liola (Bob) Hinneman, Evansdale; Phyllis’ siblings: Evelyn (Roger) Bigler, Decorah; Janice (Howard) Holten, Cedar Rapids; Nathan (Sandra) Thorson, Cresco; Arthur (Linda) Thorson, Plover, Wis.; Katherine Thorson, Ridgeway; Elton (Vicki) Thorson, Decorah; and Cheryl (Steven) McConnell, Decorah; along with many nieces, nephews and great-nieces and -nephews.

Dick was preceded in death by his parents, Richard L. and Doris (Blomgren) Blaess; one sister, Pauline Kerns, June 22, 2005; three nephews: Israel Blaess, Gary Tangen and Rodney Bigler; three brothers-in-law: Lyle Knoke in 2003; Gilman Tangen in 1986; and Paul Florian in 2004; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Ernest and Thelma (Folkedahl) Thorson; one brother-in-law, Donald Blaess.

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