Richard “Dick” K. Noren, 76, of Campton Township, passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family, on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011.
He was born Sept. 18, 1935, in St. Charles, the son of Kenneth and Elsie (Johnson) Noren.
Dick grew up in St. Charles and attended local schools. He was a member of the rifle club before graduating from St. Charles High School with the class of 1954. Following graduation, Dick began working at Moline Foundry on Dean Street in St. Charles before serving his country in the United States Army.
Dick was proud of the fact that he was once stationed in the same place as Elvis Presley in Friedberg, Germany. Following his honorable discharge, Dick returned to civilian life and his job at the foundry.
On June 25, 1966, he was united in marriage to Mary Anne Weirich, a long-time family friend whose husband Raymond raced stock cars with Dick before Raymond’s passing in 1962. They made their home in Batavia briefly before moving to the present family home in Campton Township, where they had room to raise children and Saint Bernards.
After Moline closed its doors, Dick, at 58 years old, ran as a “write in” candidate for the Campton Township Road Commissioner and won. He proudly served two terms before he relinquished his role in 2001. Retirement was just a word for Dick, so instead of taking it easy, he went to work part-time for Life Saving Enterprise in Lily Lake.
In his younger years, Dick raced stock cars at Mazon and Soldier Field before it became the home of the Chicago Bears. In later years, he couldn’t be pulled away from the television until the checkered flag flew. In high school, he learned to race pigeons; his careful, strong hands guiding and teaching each bird with care. As an adult, those same hands built many bird houses that decorated his lawn, and the lawns of family and friends, where he enjoyed watching the birds make them into a home. He also hand-crafted mangers that were donated to local churches.
Dick loved to test the odds by playing the Lotto and searched for “Lady Luck” at various gambling boats. When peace and quiet reigned at home, he enjoyed doing crossword puzzles and word searches for hours. You could always find Dick in his customary cap, and you were always welcome to tip back a few cups of his homemade alcohol. Whether it was Dandelion Wine, Corn Cob Whiskey or a peach concoction that would make your hair stand on end, Dick was always ready to share.
He also was the first to keep in touch with family and friends through thoughtful hand-picked cards that he unfailingly sent on special occasions or for no occasion at all. Following his wife’s passing, Snuffy, his faithful four-legged friend, helped keep him company and helped “guard” his home, alongside Dick’s .38 special.
Dick had a strong spirit that helped him overcome many obstacles in life. Even in his later years, when he battled through the loss of his legs and hip replacement, Dick remained positive, refusing to be beat. In the end his body broke, but his spirit never did, and that strength of spirit and character has been passed on to the next generations, who will carry on his legacy and his memories, making sure that he lives on in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.
He is survived by his constant companion, Snuffy; one daughter, Cecilia Vermaat of Batavia; one son, John (Karen) Weirch, Ocala, Fla.; seven grandchildren, Christopher Vermaat of Elburn, Amy (Matthew) Rubeck of Sycamore, Mary Anne Zuniga of Batavia, Brian (Deanna) Thielk of St. Charles, Raelene Thielk of Geneva, Paula Thielk of Batavia, Stephanie (Wayne) Jenkins of Frederick, Md., and Amy (Matthew) Rubeck of Sycamore; and 13 great-grandchildren, James, Adriana, Andrew, Brandon, Jinae, Jarin, Joah, Jace, Anthony, Taeah, Trey, Talia and Wayne Jenkins III. In addition, he leaves several nieces, nephews and a close family of friends and neighbors.
He is preceded in death by his parents; loving wife, Mary Anne; one sister, Beverly Bateman; and a daughter, Ruth Anne Weirich.
Visitation will be on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A memorial service to celebrate his life will follow visitation at 11 a.m. The Rev. Ernst Rex, pastor of the Grace Lutheran Church, will officiate. Private family interment will follow at a later date.
A memorial has been established in his name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Dick Noren Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at conleycare.com.