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Richard Duane Messenger

July 3, 1936 ~ June 17, 2019 (age 82)
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Richard Duane Messenger, age 82 years of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, June 17, 2019 at Riveridge Manor in Niles following an extended illness.

He was born on July 3, 1936 in Jefferson Township, Michigan to Harold and Marie (Anderson) Messenger, and attended Niles Community Schools.  He enlisted in the United States Army, and was Honorably Discharged as a Veteran of the Korean Conflict.  He was then employed at the former Berrien County Road Commission (now Berrien County Road Department), clearing the snow and maintaining the shoulders and berms of the county roads in northeast Niles Charter Township and eastern Berrien Township.  In retirement, he enjoyed several odd jobs, including Enterprise Rent-a Car, and Shelton’s Market.

Dick was a member of the First Baptist Church in Niles, and when his boys were younger, he was a volunteer adult leader for Boy Scouts of America.  He enjoyed camping throughout the United States, and locally at Rodgers Lake, and could have the travel trailer set-up and a pot of stew ready to share before everyone else was parked.  After dinner around the campfire, Dick would pull the cast iron lid off of his famous peach cobbler, only to be topped with a fresh scoop of his homemade ice cream.  He also enjoyed fishing around the area, had practiced “dip netting” at Berrien Springs, and was known on the C.B. radio by the ‘handle’ “Big Fish”.

On May 14, 1971 at the Church of the Brethren in Middlebury, Indiana he married the former Irene Elizabeth Whirledge, with whom he celebrated the forty-third anniversary of their wedding prior to her death on April 18, 2015.  He was also preceded in death by his parents, and by his aunt and uncle, Nettie "Belle" and Richard Anderson who raised Dick and his siblings after the untimely death of their parents.

Surviving family includes his sons, Richard J. Messenger and Keith (& Valerie) Messenger, both of Niles; grandchildren Naomi Stevenson, Elizabeth Stevenson, and Eric Messenger; and Dick’s siblings, Harold Messenger, Jr. of Missouri, Larry (& Ann) Messenger of Big Rapids, Michigan, and Shirley Connell of Jackson, Michigan; and several nieces and nephews.

Services for Richard Messenger will be at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 21, 2019 at the First Baptist Church, 1446 East Main Street in Niles with Pastor Mark Youngberg of the church officiating, assisted by Pastor Jim Wing of Niles.  Committal will follow at Silverbrook Cemetery, and will conclude with the Veteran’s Flag Presentation and “Taps” offered by the United States Army Honor Guard.

The family will receive relatives and friends at the church on Friday beginning at 10:00 a.m.  Contributions in memory of Dick Messenger may be made to First Baptist Church, 1446 East Main Street, Niles, Michigan, 49120; http://fbconnection.org/~fbcniles/.  Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  

Donations may be made to:

First Baptist Church
1446 East Main Street, Niles MI 49120
Tel: 1-269-683-2847
Web: http://fbconnection.org/~fbcniles/

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