Richard Dale Conrad, age 84 years, formerly of Niles, Michigan, father, grandfather, brother, banker, and baseball player died peacefully but unexpectedly on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at this home in South Bend, Indiana.
He was born on April 7, 1935 on the Conrad farm in rural Buchanan, Michigan to Ward Emmanuel and Esther (Thompson) Conrad. He was graduated from Niles High School and attended Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) playing baseball at both schools. He entered the United States Army during a period of peacetime, but traded the uniform of a soldier for that of the Army’s baseball team, and won the Most Valuable Player award at the 1959 Armed Forces World Series held in Germany. Returning to civilian life, he played on the minor league teams of the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox.
Dick was first employed in the offices of the First National Bank of Southwest Michigan, then at the Clark Credit Corporation, and finally at the Niles branch of the LaSalle Bank. In retirement, he worked in the transportation center of the University of Notre Dame, often driving sedans for very important passengers.
He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Niles. He was an MHSAA Certified Official, working area baseball, basketball, and football games, and played and umpired fast pitch softball. At home, he had a passion for cooking, maintaining a remarkable collection of herbs and spices, and leaving a fresh crockpot of his famous chili on the counter.
He had been married to the former Lila Jean Uselton, who has preceded him in death, as have his parents, Ward and Esther Conrad, and a sister, Beverly Gessinger.
Surviving family includes his children, Brett (& Caitlin) Conrad of Richmond, Texas and Bethany (& Jeff) Hubbard of North Stonington, Connecticut; grandchildren Brett Peter Conrad, Kyle Richard Conrad, Kayla Nicole Conrad, and Brooke Elizabeth Conrad; Dick’s sister, Connie (& David) Knapp of Niles; three nephews, David Knapp, Joe Knapp, and Chris Gessinger, and a niece, Cheri Legus; and more generations of nieces and nephews and many cousins.
The family of Dick Conrad will receive relatives and friends on Sunday, November 17, 2019 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. A Celebration of his life in in the works for a season when the weather is more conducive to golfing. Committal will be private, at a later date, at Silverbrook Cemtery in Niles.
Contributions in memory of Dick may be made to the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, 111 Days Avenue, Buchanan, Michigan 49107; https://mgcf.org/ to establish a Dick Conrad Memorial Baseball Scholarship Fund. Online condolences may be left at:
While Dick was clearly a competitive and successful athlete, he had an equally winning warmth and personality that made him welcome walking into businesses and offices, driving for Notre Dame’s best, and - most importantly - visiting the homes of friends and family
Michigan Gateway Community Foundation for the Dick Conrad Memorial Baseball Scholarship
111 Days Avenue, Buchanan MI 49107