Richard Eugene Henricks
Yes, it is a surprise. Richard Eugene Henricks, age 77 of Dubuque, Iowa, died of natural causes on June 3, 2020, instead of the result of a mishap in one of his many adventures. Rich, also known as Gene, was born on October 5, 1942 in Rockford, Illinois.
His parents, Francis B. Henricks, and Virginia (Campobello) Henricks were stunned when he didn’t emerge with a cry at the hospital, but a grin and the declaration, “Let the adventure begin!” And it sure did. After many audacious and intrepid youthful adventures, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine, 1st Marine Division in a variety of MOS capacities. His favorite station: Puerto Rico! His least favorite station: Viet Nam, where he was a forward observer.
Rich was a charter member of VietNow, which he helped establish in Rockford, Illinois.
Upon returning home he married Joan Florence Aamodt, and soon Rhonda, Penny, and Meaghan arrived to complete the family. When his marriage to Joan ended, Rich married Susan Garas on February 18, 1988 in Maui, Hawaii, and they had two daughters, Genevieve and Natalie.
Rich worked for Goss Printing in materials management for more than 35 years until the plant closed, and then he got his dream job– working at the Rock Island Arsenal. Although he continued holding true to his adventuresome nature, the Arsenal took this to a new level, and he was deployed to Iraq three times in 2004, 2006, and 2009. While there in 2009, he called Susan and said, “I’m possibly the only guy out here driving a HMMWV (Humvee) in the desert while collecting a Social Security check!”
Rich retired in 2014 and spent every day working with his dog Bowser to restore his cabin, located along the backwaters of the Mississippi. The small acreage and peaceful waters renewed his spirit on a daily basis. He was a hunter, fisherman, bicyclist (this year would have been 30 for RAGBRAI), sailor, hiker, runner, and Harley rider who believed it was taboo to be seen without his dog. But most of all, he was a storyteller.
Those of us who remain to exchange his stories are his wife Susan Henricks, Dubuque, IA; his daughters, Rhonda (Nick) Kovanda, Rockford, IL; Penny Smith, Rockford, IL; Meaghan Henricks, Rockton, IL; Genevieve Keyser (Jesse), Ballwin, MO; Natalie Henricks, Rockford, IL; siblings, John Henricks (Kathy) and their daughter Kristine and son John, Boyne City, MI; Robert (Gisela) and his daughters Rene and Steffania, Caldwell, TX; Ginger (Ross) Wehling, Caldwell, TX; and his grandchildren, Lola, Stella, Hannah, Louis, Eliljah, Theodore, Desmond, Otto, Katja and Gunnar.
Rich was preceded in death by his parents Francis and Virginia Henricks; his first grandson, Jayden; his former wife, Joan, and his niece Kelly Hardie.
To celebrate Rich’s life, family and friends may visit from 12:00 noon until 3:00 p.m., on Sunday, June 7, 2020, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, where there will be a parish scripture service held at 2:30 p.m. To honor Rich’s life, funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Monday, June 8, 2020, at Holy Spirit Parish, Holy Trinity Church, 1701 Rhomberg Avenue, with Rev. Mark Kwenin officiating. In keeping with current guidelines, masks will be required at church and 6 foot social distancing practices should be followed. Burial will be in Scandinavian Cemetery, in Rockford, Illinois, at a later date following cremation.
Memorials can be mailed to Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, Dubuque, IA 52001, Attn. Richard Henricks Family, and they will be distributed between the Veterans Freedom Center in Dubuque as well as the American Legion Post 170 in Blairstown, IA.
Special thanks to the Dubuque Police and Fire Departments – our heroes – and to the staff of MercyOne, particularly Paige.
Behr Funeral Home
1491 Main Street, Dubuque, Iowa
June 7th, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Holy Trinity Catholic Church
1701 Rhomberg Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa
June 8th, 2020 at 10:00 AM