Richard Ortquist ’56

Richard Theodore “Dick” Richard Theodore Ortquist, Jr., “Dick” passed away on March 23, 2021, in Baytown, Texas, in the company of those who loved him. He had enjoyed a DQ hot fudge sundae earlier in the day.Dick was born on December 22, 1933, in Muskegon, Michigan, to Beatrice Ortquist nee Bushman and Richard Theodore Ortquist, Sr. He was the first of three children and enjoyed a loving relationship with his younger sisters, Jackie (Bob d. 2012) Martin and Sharon (Dick) Ward his whole life long.Dick married Betsy Richards in 1958, with whom he had two beloved children, Leslie (Thomas) Ortquist-Ahrens and Bruce (Mindy) Ortquist. He was a delightful grandfather to their children, Nick Ahrens, and Will (Theodore!) and Emma Ortquist, to whom he passed along his keen sense of humor and over-fondness for salt. Dick and Betsy divorced in 1981 but remained caring friends until her death in 2016.In 1985, Dick married Cathleen “Caty” McSkimming, whom he loved and adored until her death just six weeks before his own. Dick enjoyed spending time with Caty’s children, David (Michelle) McSkimming, Cynthia (Rick) Erwin, Janet (Jimmy) Richmond, and Allen (Laura) McSkimming, and their children, Grace McSkimming, Dak and Carson Erwin, and Rachel and Jeremy Richmond, to whom he was known affectionately as “Pops”. Dick and Caty relished the company of Caty’s twin sister Cody Greenwood and her husband Jim, with whom they enjoyed many travel adventures.Dick, a working-class, first-generation high school graduate, attended Hope College, where he was captain of the baseball team, a slugging second baseman. He taught high school in Grandville, Michigan, before resuming his education at the University of Michigan , where he earned a Ph.D. in American History. Seldom thereafter was he to be seen without at least one U-of-M-themed article of clothing. Dick went on to enjoy a rich and rewarding, 35-year career as a professor of History and long-time department chair at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. He cherished his students and colleagues and thoroughly enjoyed teaching, knowing firsthand what a difference an education can make.Dick was active in service/social organizations such as Kiwanis and the Polo Club, and founded the Springfield chapter of Man-to-Man, a support group for men diagnosed with prostate cancer, for which he was awarded Mercy Hospital’s “Cancer Survivor of the Year” in 1999. He sang in the church choir and was a chorus member in several operas staged by the Springfield Arts Council.Dick enjoyed tennis with Caty, Donkey Kong at Groeber’s, and was an avid golfer, playing every month of the year (in Ohio!). Dick loved to laugh and gravitated toward funny people. He was valued and loved by his friends as evidenced by their uncommon loyalty to him.Dick will be remembered for his humor, his teaching, his devotion to Caty and all those dear to him. He will be remembered for his pen fetish and his Stevia packets and his love of all things Michigan and for the supreme pleasure he took in a bowl of ice cream.

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