Richard (“Dick”) William Schoenbohm, age 91, passed away from natural causes at Touchmark on June 25. Born in 1929 to Prof. Richard A. and Wilma (Bartig) Schoenbohm in Roseville, MI, Dick spent most of his younger years in Valparaiso, IN, where his father taught music and directed the Valparaiso University choir. During the war years of his teens, he worked nights at a local war plant and learned to fly through a program under the Civil Defense Corps and Civil Air Patrol. While attending Valparaiso University, Dick met Wanda Jerzyk; they sang and traveled together in the choir and married in 1950. He earned degrees in history, geography, and education from Valparaiso and Indiana Universities.
Dick served as a Corpsman in the Naval Reserves for five years and as a teacher in Indiana for two. As the young family grew to four boys in six years, he moved into the insurance field, starting as a field representative in Cleveland and transferring to the AAL home office in Appleton in 1960. Dick worked primarily in the training department, holding multiple management positions until retirement in 1986.
As the father of four growing boys, Dick ran a tight ship and took great pride in his sons’ individual identities and accomplishments, instilling high standards and a strong sense of family and responsibility. He was especially proud of their home renovation projects on W. Summer St. and made it clear to his children that their involvement was a given, seeing to it in the process that they became capable problem solvers and workers.
For many years Dick was active in Boy Scouts as the leader of Troop 71 and Special Needs Troop 90 and held a position on the BSA Council. He trained scores of boys in many skills, especially outdoor skills on countless camping trips. He also volunteered many hours as a hospice companion in the community.
When all four sons were through school, Dick could finally afford to turn to his passion for boating, especially sailing. He was active in the Neenah Nodaway Yacht Club, where he often took part in their Tuesday night racing seasons and was Club Commodore for three years. He also took advantage of several opportunities to sail in the Virgin Islands and Florida Keys.
Dick and Wanda were a devoted couple for 63 years. In later years they enjoyed a Winnebago RV, their land in Pickerel, WI, and especially their ten grandchildren. There are now five great grandchildren, as well. Wanda preceded Dick in death in 2013.
Dick was the man to go to if you needed anything built, torn down, repaired, or remodeled. Be it a car, machine, or house, he could fix an engine, do electrical wiring, plumbing, construction, roofing - all without formal training. His garage workshop housed an impressive array of tools, meticulously organized, envied by many and often borrowed by his sons, and he was generous in sharing his time and skills with them and others on many projects. All three Appleton sons’ home renovation projects are better for his invaluable help in time, tools, skills, and knowledge. Generous of spirit and a great storyteller, Dick had a ready smile, an open heart, and a hearty laugh.
Dick will be sorely missed by his children: Richard B. (Sue), Appleton, and his children Lindsay (Matt and great-granddaughters Riley and Brynna) and Laurel (Q Ben Oliver and his children Landon, Grant, and Atalie), and daughter-in-law Leah; Robert (Dolores), NYC, NY, and their children Joseph and Jacob; Mark (Renita), Appleton, and children Christopher, Erin, and Jenna; and Michael (Julie), Appleton, and children Whitney (Brandan and great-grandchildren Mya, Tate, and Trey), Courtney (Steve), and Nicholas (Devon). He is further survived by his sisters, Emily Kiekhaefer, Houston, and Sonia Cirocco, Middleburg, FL; and sisters-in-law Marlene Jerzyk, Icard, NC, and Virginia Jerzyk, Lowell, IN.
A private family memorial service will be held at Brettschneider-Trettin-Nickel Funeral Chapel, Appleton.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to the entire staff of Touchmark Senior Living and the Admiral unit, and also to Christina and the ThedaCare at Home Hospice Chapter for their guidance, support, attention, and loving care.
The Kulen Outreach Program, which provides disadvantaged mountain children in Cambodia with housing and education, was dear to Dick’s heart. In lieu of flowers, donations to the program in his memory can be made at kulenoutreach.org/donate.
A livestream broadcast will be presented at 5 pm Wednesday, July 8, at: https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/82351138
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