Richard “Dick” Kaess, age 89 of Lake Delton, Wisconsin, passed away on Friday, May 2, 2014 at his home.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be on held Friday, May 9, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin with Father Michael Richel celebrating. Visitation will be held at the church on Friday from 12:30 p.m. until the time of the service at 2:00 p.m.
A Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 in St. Paul, MN at The Little French Church of St. Louis at 1:30 p.m. with Father Paul F. Morrissey celebrating. Burial will be at the Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights, MN. Military Honors will be provided by the Anoka County Chapter #470 Vietnam Veterans of America Honor Guard.
Richard was born April 5, 1925 in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of John and Mary (Weber) Kaess. He lived an exemplary life as he was a man of few words but extraordinary faith and love for his family, growing up in St. Paul with seven brothers and sisters. His father, John Kaess supported his family, often, working three different jobs, primarily, he was a carpenter. He often supplemented his growing family, playing the saxophone at weddings and other events, among other work he could find. His mother Mary also worked hard to provide for her family during the years of the depression. He was the youngest son and looked up to his brothers as a role model and they helped to pave his way through his younger years. Also babysitting his little sister, Donna and she quickly learned how to chase basketballs while in his care.
In high school he was an All-City in baseball, basketball and football. He was Washington High School’s Hero from 1940-1943 and led them to many championships, ending in 1943 when he led his team, The Presidents, to a state championship in basketball. He was honored to be “Athlete of the Year” for the City of St. Paul in 1943 and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. However, soon after graduation he enlisted in the Marines and fought in the South Pacific Theater. After returning home, he played short stop for the Los Angeles Angels in California and for several teams in the Southern and Sally Leagues. He returned home and married his sweetheart, Barbara Jane Kaess on May 26, 1952 in St. Paul. He was employed as a Veteran’s Service Officer in Ramsey County, eventually, taking the position of Administrator. Through these first 5 or 6 years, he was also approached to play semi-pro baseball in the Southern Minny League. Traveling 2 or 3 times a week to Faribault and Albert Lea as well as other towns after work, in the southern region of Minnesota.
In 1988, he was awarded the honor of being one of the “Top 50 Athletes” in St. Paul’s History.
His daughter, Paula Sue Kaess, came first and it was then he decided to resign and concentrate his talent to being a wonderful father and full time husband. His daughter, Lisa Marie Kaess, came a few years later and his joy in being a father was evident to all who knew him.
He was also very active in his church. Serving on many boards and being the cook at many spaghetti fundraisers and also dishwasher! He participated in many talent shows and taught catechism one night a week as well. In those years, he also formed his own baseball team for his church. The Presentation of the BVM and led them to many victories as player then coach. Dick was an active member of the VFW Post # 8 of St. Paul, the American Legion and numerous other service clubs in the Twin Cities area.
Always an avid Twins and Vikings fan, he attended many games; often from his favorite chair in his living room.
Both daughters were married and he was a proud father as he walked them down the aisle. Dick became a grandpa and loved to show his grandchildren the art of baseball while grandma looked on. In later years, he enjoyed fishing and golfing, traveling to Florida to visit his family and then lovingly taking care of his wife, Barbara as she began to develop Alzheimer’s. Some years later, it became important that he live near his surviving daughter, Lisa and her family now living full time in Wisconsin Dells. He and Barb lived in a beautiful condo just down the road from his family on Lake Delton. His days were spent watching the majestic eagle’s that sometimes would glide by and taking rides to look for deer that were often in the woods nearby. He was very fortunate to have made many friendships and neighbors these last years that grew to love him. The caregivers that helped him take care of Barb, were his dear friends and Angels.
Dick is survived by his loving wife, Barb; his daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Tom Gussel, his granddaughter, Andrea and his grandson, Gavin of Wisconsin Dells; his son-in-law, Joe Colucci of Hastings, MN; his sister, Donna (Jim) Gaylord of South St. Paul, MN as well as many wonderful nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his loving daughter, Paula Sue (Kaess) Colucci; parents, John and Mary; sister, Johanna Hirsh, Leona Rehbein and Margaret Dawson; brothers, Arthur (Jackie), Andrew (Carolyn), Bernard (Dolores) and George.