Charles Richard Wurz, age 98 years of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 12:44 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 with his family gathered around at his home following a brief illness, and just 35 days short of his 99th birthday.
He was born on February 19, 1920 in Niles to Herman and Pearl (Linzbach) Wurz, and was graduated from Niles High School in 1938. He found work at the former Yellow Truck and Coach Plant in Pontiac, and in 1942 he enlisted in the United States Navy. He served on the USS Chinaberry laying anti-submarine nets throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and was Honorably Discharged as a Veteran of World War II. He returned to Niles where he was employed at the former Tyler Refrigeration plant. He later became a partner and meat manager at the former Tony’s Supermarket on Lake Street. In retirement, he was employed part-time at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles (now Halbritter-Wickens).
Dick was a devout Catholic, and lifelong member of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Niles where he sang in the choir and served as an usher. He also sang with the Four Flag Quartet, and was a member of SPEBSQSA (the Society for Preservation and Enjoyment of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America). As a young man, he enjoyed flying private planes; and he has always enjoyed golfing, including a witnessed hole-in-one on Plym Golf Course #6.
Whether serving customers at the meat counter, singing in a chorus, or greeting at church or the funeral home, Dick loved people. He watched for the best in everyone, and everyone saw the best in him. Above all, he loved God and his family.
On June 30, 1951 in Niles he married the former Marilyn Maxine Hubble with whom he celebrated the fifty-third anniversary of their wedding prior to her death on March 4, 2005. He was also preceded in death by a son, Edward Wurz on August 28, 2018, a grandson, Corey Cleary, Dick’s sisters, Mary Cary, and Virginia Haviland, and two sisters who died in childhood, Leona Frances and Eleanor.
“Papa Wurz” is survived by his children, Kay (& Jordan Camenker) Wurz of Winter Springs, Florida, Fay (& Richard) Appelget of Niles, Quinn (& Jayne) Wurz of South Bend, Indiana, Ava (& Marti) Schmaltz of Saint Louis, Missouri, and Tia (& Mike) Otman of Sun Lakes, Arizona; a daughter-in-law, Pam Wurz of Niles; thirteen grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, and cousins; and a wonderful community of great friends.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Richard Wurz will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 18, 2019 at Saint Mary Catholic Church, 203 South Lincoln Avenue in Niles by the Rev. Christian Johnston of the parish assisted by Deacon Roger Gregorski. Committal Rites will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles, and will conclude with the Full Military Honors by the United States Navy Honor Guard and American Legion Post #51 of Buchanan, Michigan.
The family will receive relatives and friends on Thursday, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles with recitation of The Rosary at 7:30 p.m. Contributions in memory of Dick may be made to Saint Mary Catholic Church; https://www.stmarysniles.org/ Online condolences may be left at: www.halbritterwickens.com
Saint Mary Catholic Church
219 South State Street, Niles MI 49120