Richard “Dick” Baumgarten passed away on Good Friday, April 15, 2022, with his son, friends, and caregivers at his side, after living a full and loving life.
He was born on Oct. 19, 1937, in Loganville, WI, to Edwin and Lorna (Hasz) Baumgarten and enjoyed his childhood roaming freely around town with his older sister, Connie. His love of automobiles started at an early age, building soap box derby cars and racing them around Wisconsin, including the championship races in Madison. This is also when his love for the Cubs was solidified, traveling with Connie to Wrigley Field during the summer of 1947 at age 9 to see his favorite team play.
At Webb High School, Dick played football, basketball, and baseball. School wasn’t his favorite, but his humor, charm, and drive to succeed – plus a bit of a stubborn streak – served him well throughout his life. After attending college in La Crosse and Platteville, Dick served in the military from 1960 – 1962 and was awarded a Medal of Honor for conduct and a commendation for marksmanship.
Dick painted power poles, worked as a first responder, and at the movie theater in Reedsburg, to name a few jobs, before he found his calling in banking. He started his banking career in Loganville in the late 1950s, a path that would take him throughout southern Wisconsin before becoming the President of the Fox Heights Bank in 1966. Dick remained at the bank for 45 years, building lifelong friendships, community bonds, and enjoying every moment.
1966 was a truly important year for Dick – he met the love of his life, Hope (Overholt) Baumgarten (1944 – 2016), whom he married on July 16, 1966. Their beloved son, Kurt Richard Baumgarten, was born in 1967, after which they moved to Ashwaubenon, WI, where Dick promptly attended one of the great moments in Packers history – the Ice Bowl. Dick and Hope built their family home and life on Marhill Road, founding members of a loving community that thrives to this day.
The next years were spent enjoying a life packed full of joy – including work, travel, and quality time spent with friends and family. Memorable moments included weekends at the family cabin near Crivitz, watching the Cubs on WGN, playing golf and ping-pong with Kurt, hunting and fishing trips, planting and tending to his gardens, spoiling the family cats (Chelios and Tucker), and fighting the never-ending battle between the squirrels and the birdfeeders. Dick treasured his lifelong friendships with Gene, Gordie, Al, Binker, Jim, Bob, and many others.
Dick kept busy in his years after retirement. He devoted untold hours to one of his greatest joys in life – cultivating his gardens, which were featured on the 2012 Green Bay Botanical Garden’s Garden Walk, hosting visitors from around the Fox Valley. His yard is full of rare trees (including Dick’s prized Japanese Maple), flowers from his mother’s gardens that have bloomed for nearly a century, fruits and vegetables, and a koi pond full of lilies, all of which tell a story and inspire a sense of peace.
He and Hope wintered in Florida, driving down each year with Tucker the cat in the backseat and enjoying the warmth, sun, and friendships until spring brought them back to Wisconsin. They took trips to Alaska and throughout the Northeast, enjoying friends, food, and nature. He particularly took pride in going to car shows in his 1954 Oldsmobile (his favorite car of all), talking shop with anyone and everyone.
One of Dick’s most striking characteristics was his generosity, as evidenced by his frequent donations to organizations such as the Green Bay Botanical Garden, the National Railroad Museum, and the Salvation Army. He sat on numerous philanthropic boards throughout his retirement and was passionate about his causes. Most importantly, his desire and drive to help others extended to his friends and family, all of whom knew they could rely on him for support in times of need.
The last several years of Dick’s life were not easy. Hope passed away in 2016 after a long fight against ovarian cancer, and soon after his own health declined. Still, he enjoyed visiting with friends, watching the Cubs and Packers, and being in his treasured home until he passed. A truly fond memory was a final trip to Wrigley in 2017 after the Cubs won the World Series with Kurt, Rachael, and his sister and her entire family in tow – 70 years after their first trip there. Most importantly, he deeply treasured weekends spent with Kurt, watching sports, history and animal shows, and simply spending quality time together. He loved his son very much.
We would like to particularly thank Binker and Tim, Jennifer and Wally, Maria and Jim, Sara and Phil, Kortney, Mike, and the Marhill community for their incredible support and love throughout the years. Dick is survived by his son, Kurt and his partner, Rachael Cooper; sister, Connie Kramer; and many nieces and nephews.
A visitation will be held at St. John's Lutheran Church in Ashwaubenon (2700 Babcock Rd.) on Saturday, April 30 at 10 AM. A service will be held at noon, immediately followed by a reception and luncheon celebrating Dick's life. Graveside military funeral honors will be paid at Woodlawn Cemetery (1542 Webster Ave) following the luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, in memory of Dick Baumgarten.
Expressions of sympathy can be made to the family by visiting www.lyndahl.com
The Lyndahl Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting the family with arrangements.