Richard Lee 'Dick' Wands
December 22, 1936 - February 2, 2023
Richard Lee Wands, age 86, passed away suddenly on Thursday, February 2, 2023 in Winter Garden, Florida. He was born on December 22, 1936 in Sedalia, Missouri to Joseph and Mildred Wands. The family lived in Chicago, Illinois, where he graduated from Chicago Vocational School in 1955. After high school, Richard joined the United States Navy where he served on the destroyer USS Wedderburn. In 1958 he married the love of his life, Arlene. They lived in San Diego, California, until Richard was honorably discharged in 1959.
The couple returned to Illinois where they were blessed with three children. They bought their house in Calumet City, Illinois in 1965 and lived there until 2004, when they then moved to Crown Point, Indiana, and would spend their winters in Venice, Florida. In late spring of 2023 Richard moved to Winter Garden, Florida to be closer to his son.
Richard worked for Wisconsin Steelworks in Chicago as an electrician until they unexpectedly closed in 1980. He then went on to work at Chicago's Cook County Hospital as a carpenter. He worked there until his retirement.
Richard was a very active participant in politics in the south suburban area of Chicago. He worked on a variety of campaigns including statewide and presidential elections. He was President of the Thornton Township Democratic Organization, and a two-term Trustee of Thornton Township before he became Township Clerk. He was also a candidate for Alderman for the 6th Ward in Calumet City. Richard enjoyed his time in these roles and was very passionate in helping the people in his community.
Richard was past-president of his Masonic Lodge, an enthusiastic Chicago Bears fan, ardent golfer, and a life long vegetable gardener. When not enjoying his sports or garden, he could be found playing cards and dominoes with his many friends or enjoying a Manhattan while watching the sunset.
Richard was the loving caretaker for Arlene who proceeded him in death after 63 years of marriage. Richard is survived by his children Beverly (Robert) Thompson, Nancy (Sam) Gillespie, and Eric (Colleen) Wands as well as his grandchildren Jason, Jennifer (Kyle), Kelsey, Joseph, Leah and Evan and his great-grandchildren Elora and Everett. He is also survived by his brother William (Donna) Wands and sister JoAnn (Dennis) O'Keefe and many nieces and nephews. He was proceeded in death by both of his parents.
Richard will join Arlene at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in a private ceremony on February 24, 2023.
Richard's children invite you to join them for a Celebration of Life open house at Ciao Bella Ristorante, 1514 US Hwy 41, Schererville, IN on Saturday, February 25, 2023 from 1-4pm.
Memorial donations to American Parkinson's Association, PO Box 61420, Staton Island, NY 10306 would be greatly appreciated.