Richard "Dick" Earl Dauwalder, a gentle, soft-spoken man, passed away into the arms of his Savior with his wife, Lorraine, by his side on July 11, 2015 at Benefis Teton Medical Center in Choteau, Montana. He was 82 years old.
On Wednesday, July 15, a private family graveside service with military honors will be held at the Choteau Cemetery at 9:00 AM. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 AM at Grace Lutheran Church in Fairfield, with a luncheon to follow.
Dad was born at Teton Memorial Hospital in Choteau to Walter and Irene Dauwalder on April 17, 1933. He lived on the family farm in Bole, MT until 1941 when the family bought a house in Choteau. He graduated from Teton County High School in 1951. After graduation, he attended Montana State College where he first took flying lessons and received his Private Pilot License. He was a member of the Bobcat Flying Club. This would ignite his life-long love of flying and airplanes. He went on to obtain his commercial license and his instrument and multi-engine ratings, filling three log books with flight time. He could tell you anything you wanted to know about any airplane ever manufactured.
His college education was cut short as he was drafted into the Army in April of 1954. He entered Basic Training in Fort Ord, California and in January of 1955 he was stationed in Salzburg, Austria as a radio operator in the Army Security Agency. In March of 1956, he was discharged from the Army. He and his twin brother Bob had bought a Volkswagon in Germany and had it shipped home with them. They drove the little 35 horsepower VW back from New York City to Choteau in three days. Once home, he and his brother Bob, jumped into the family farm with his brother-in-law Bob Erickson, eventually taking over the family farming operation.
In 1966, the confirmed bachelor reunited with his childhood friend Lorraine Dale, and she became the love of his life. They married on July 15, 1966. An instant family was formed with Lorraine's three children who he took in and raised as his own. Three more children would follow. In 1976, the family moved to Lorraine's family homestead on the Sunny Slope Bench west of Fairfield. In 2001, Dick and Lorraine moved into Fairfield where they now live.
After retiring from the farming operations in 1987, Dad was a salesman for the John Deere dealership in Choteau, E.P. Ekegren, for a short time until he went to work for the Farm Service Agency in Choteau as their "field man". He took great pride in measuring fields and grain bins accurately, never staking the wrong field. He enjoyed traveling around the county visiting and meeting with all the area farmers. He retired from the FSA in 2004 after 16 years.
During these years, from 1988 - 1995, Dad also drove the Choteau Bulldog Activity bus. Always being a "Bulldog at heart" he took great pride in getting the students and athletes to their various activities around the state of Montana safely and on time. This would prove to be one of the hardest jobs he ever had to retire from. He had many stories and many fond memories of all his "bus kids."
After retiring, Dad stayed busy around the house helping Mom, mowing the lawn in the summer and shoveling the sidewalk and the driveway in the winter with his "awesome" snow shovel. He also loved adding flashlights to his collection and showing them off to anyone who would stop by. If you ever needed something pinched, a Leatherman could always be found on his hip. He and Lorraine also cleaned Kasper and Co's office and Grace Lutheran Church for many years, only "retiring" this winter when his health wouldn't allow him to continue.
Dick is survived by his wife of 49 years, Lorraine (Dale) Dauwalder of Fairfield, his sons, Dale (Julie) Hansen of Utah; Mark (Karen) Hansen, Ron (Cindy) Dauwalder and Jim (Caroline) Dauwalder of Fairfield. His daughters, Kari (Gary) Kasper and Amy(Mike) Mills, all of Fairfield. He is also survived by his sister Anna Lee Erickson of Choteau and his twin brother Bob Dauwalder of Dutton, 22 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Walter and Irene, and his sister Donna Faye Otness and brother Bill McManus
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to Grace Lutheran Church, Teton Medical Center Foundation or a charity of your choice.