Richard L. Degen

Richard L. [Dick] Degen, of Waupaca, passed away on September 17, 2018 at the Wisconsin State Veteran’s Home in King, WI, where he had been living for the past 7 years. Dick was born on October 30, 1931 in Burlington, WI to Carl and Emma [Reuter] Degen. He attended St. Charles Grade School and St. Mary’s High School. At St. Mary’s he boxed and played football. His classmates called him “Sunshine” for his sunny disposition. After graduation Dick enlisted in the US Air Force. During his Air Force service he was stationed from 1951-1953 at Fairford Air Base, England. His squadron was tasked with reopening a WWII air base, which became a part of the Strategic Air Command. Dick loaded “some of the first nukes” on the B-36 and later the new jet-propelled B-47 bombers.
On August 17, 1957 Dick married the love of his life, Jean M. Schwartz of Milwaukee and settled in Burlington, WI to raise their family of five children. Dick and Jean were members of St. Mary’s Parish in Burlington until moving the family to Waupaca, WI in the summer of 1978. As members of St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Waupaca, Dick was active in the Knights of Columbus.
Dick was a brick and stone mason. In Burlington he worked for Sherrer Construction Company and later Sherrer Strom Construction Company. Upon moving to Waupaca, the “grouchy old mason”, as he was affectionately called by one customer, started his own company, Degen Masonry. He was a true craftsman, known for his quality work. Family and friends were very important to Dick and he loved the outdoors. In the early years the family camped, starting in an old canvas tent and graduating to a series of campers over the years at Casey Lake. An avid hunter and fisherman, the dun deer hunting season was an annual pilgrimage to Elcho, WI, where he bought an old cabin. The Elcho cabin was a weekend retreat and family gathering place that remains in the Family today.
Dick is preceded in death by his wife Jean; parents Carl and Emma Degen; his siblings Carl Degen, Joan Durand, and Roger Degen.
He is survived by his sister Mary Bradley of Neenah; his children: Rick and Kathy [Stephens] Degen of Weston WI, Tom and Lori [Bell] Degen of Plover WI; Mike and Jean [Karski] Degen of Waupaca, Julie DeGrace of Fort Myers FL; Jim and Lisa [Bravo] Degen of Waupaca WI; 11 grandchildren and 2 greatgrandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday September 22, 2018 at 11 A.M. at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church. Father Xavier Santiago will officiate with burial to follow at the St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Cemetery. A visitation will be held on Saturday at the church from 9:30 A.M. until the time of the Mass at 11 A.M. The Holly funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
The Degen family would like to express their appreciation and gratitude to the staff at the Wisconsin State Veterans Home in King for the wonderful care they gave our father during his time living at the Home. God Bless you all for the work you do providing for our aging Veterans and their spouses.