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Richard E. Switzer

January 2, 1941 - January 30, 2019
Galesburg, MI

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Visitation

Monday, February 4, 2019
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST
Langeland Family Funeral Homes Galesburg Chapel
145 W. Battle Creek Street
Galesburg, MI

Visitation

Monday, February 4, 2019
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Langeland Family Funeral Homes Galesburg Chapel
145 W. Battle Creek Street
Galesburg, MI

Service

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
11:00 AM EST
Langeland Family Funeral Homes Galesburg Chapel

Life Story / Obituary


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Richard Switzer was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. He lived his life fully by extending himself selflessly to others over the years. Generous beyond measure, Richard leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories that will forever be remembered by all who knew and loved him.

So much of our nation’s history was characterized by the year 1941. It was the year that marked the fateful attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. As Franklin D. Roosevelt was leading the United States into unprecedented times, Al and Mildred Vera (Schlosser) Switzer welcomed home their newborn son, Richard, on January 2nd, in Lansing Michigan. His birth brought great joy and promise during an era of great change.

Both of his parents worked outside the home. His father was a small appliance electrician at Barker Fowler and his mother worked as a secretary to the General of the Michigan National Guard. He grew up in a Christian household and attended the Methodist Church. Dick sang in the children’s choral at church and was active in Boy Scouts at a young age. Ambitious and determined, he earned an Eagle Scout with three Eagle Palms. He was very proud of this important accomplishment.

Through mutual friends Dick met the love of his life, Janet Debus at the local Home Dairy cafeteria over Christmas break. Attracted from first glance, he asked her out to see the “Sword and the Stone.” Cold and blustery weather caused his car locks to freeze and he barely got her home by curfew! Dick was very outgoing and social and Janet was more soft-spoken and intellectual which made for a perfect match! He tried to get her out of her shell while at the same time she reeled him in!

Before graduating with the Holt High School Class of 1959 he took an aptitude test that recommended a career as a funeral director or a Pastor. He chose the path to Spring Arbor University and graduate school at the Wisconsin School of Mortuary Science, receiving his State of Michigan License to Practice Mortuary Science in 1965. This early decision led him to a long-lasting and successful career as a funeral director spanning nearly fifty remarkable years!

He and Janet then married at the University United Methodist Church in Lansing on September 4, 1965. Their newlywed years were interrupted by his call to serve in the Vietnam War in the U.S. Army 1st Infantry, Hg Division from February 1966 until January 1968. Dick was awarded the U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran Bronze Star for his bravery in service after his honorable discharge.

Back home, he and Janet were eager to start their family and welcomed home their son, Jeff in 1972. Working hard to save up resources, they purchased the funeral home in Galesburg in 1973, before later owning the one in Comstock. Dick made many significant connections over those years and before they knew it along came their daughter, Lisa in 1977. Busy with the business, Dick never missed an opportunity to take trips with his family. They cherished many years traveling as well as spending time at nearby lakes. His family was immensely important to him.

In addition to his commitment to his faith life, his family, and his community, he also held many special interests. Dick enjoyed collecting various items from history including cars, China; especially Tea Leaf, antiques, and books. He also found great solace in reading as well as gardening for pleasure. Easy-going and personable, he made many special friendships over the years. His special surrogate daughter, Jodi and her son, Brett were a great addition to the family. He and Janet played cards and took vacations with several close friends over the years including The VanPelt Family and Larry and Mary Richards. The entire Roy Betzler family proved to be lifetime friends who covered the funeral home in later years and also enjoyed traveling with him and Janet. Even their neighbors, The Green Family became like family to them over the years. When they became more acquainted in the Gulf Shores area, they were blessed with the special companionship of Tom and Diane Hutton. Dick was the ultimate civil servant having committed his life to serving many communities over the years. His legacy and impact on the countless lives he touched will surely be remembered for generations to come.

Richard E. Switzer, age 78, of Galesburg, Michigan passed away peacefully at his winter home in Gulf Shores, Alabama on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. He was a lifelong member in the United Methodist churches in Michigan, including a member of both the Galesburg and Gulf Shores United Methodist Churches and choirs. Dick was the former owner of Hoag-Switzer Funeral Homes and active on many boards including a lifetime member of the Rotary Club, Tea Leaf International Club, Michigan Funeral Directors Association 777 Club, National Funeral Directors Association, Comstock VFW Post # 64, South Haven American Legion, Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, South Alabama Sr. Travelers Club, and a member of the Climax Prairie Lodge F. & A.M. #55. He served as President three times for the Galesburg Lion's Club, Gull Lake Lions Club, and Gulf Shores Club. He earned the Melvin Jones Fellowship award in recognition of his service and dedication to raising awareness for the Leader Dog for the Blind. He was also the Founder and Curator Emeritus of the Galesburg Historical Museum and Emeritus Comstock Community Center Board Member. Richard was preceded in death by his parents, Al and Vera and on May 3, 2010, by his loving wife, Janet.

Richard is survived by two cherished children and their spouses, Jeff (Marcia) Switzer of Grand Rapids, MI and Lisa (Mark) Eiseman of Somerville, New Zealand; six grandchildren; Parker, Logan, Alexandria, Samantha, Adelaigh and Tanner; a brother, Ronald and Margo Switzer of Diamondale, MI; two surrogate daughters, Jodi (Dale) Clock of Muskegon and Michelle (Joe) Starbuck of Alexandria, VA; an extraordinary mentee, Brett and Kelly Wright of Muskegon, MI; a niece and two nephews, a number of cousins and many special friends in Michigan, Alabama, and throughout the United States. The family will welcome friends on Monday, February 4th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM and 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Galesburg Chapel, 145 W. Battle Creek Street, where a funeral service will be held on Tuesday, February 5th at 11:00 AM with Rev. Leonard E. Davis officiating. Interment will follow on the family lot at Oak Grove Cemetery, Galesburg. Those who wish may make memorial contributions in Richard’s memory to the Galesburg Historical Society & Museum. Please visit Richard’s personalized web page where you can archive a memory or make a memorial contribution at www.langelands.com

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