Richard Wander

May 19, 1920February 17, 2013

Wander, Richard John (92) of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away on February 17, 2013 at Chelsea Retirement Community surrounded by his devoted wife and family. He was born in Melrose, Minnesota on May 19, 1920, the eldest son of Norbert and Martha Wander. He served his country in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II from 1942-1945. After the war, he met his bride-to-be Mary Lou Andrews in Washington, D.C. and they were married on September 7, 1946 at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Ann Arbor. Rich and Mary Lou were founding members of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, and in later years worshipped at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dexter. He was employed by the Detroit Edison Company for 36 years. He was a member of the Elks Club and the Knights of Columbus. He was an avid duck hunter and fisherman. Rich cherished family time and enjoyed family vacations throughout the years with Mary Lou and all of his children, especially in northern Michigan, where he walked the dunes, boated, fished and golfed. He was a favorite Uncle Rich to many nieces and nephews and extended family time was very important to him. He liked playing cards, bowling, musical theater and trips to the casino. After retirement, Rich and Mary Lou spent their winters in Indio, California, where they formed many special friendships at Desert Aire Resort. The warm weather, friends, and community spirit and activities gave Rich lots of happiness. He was preceded in death by brothers Robert and Wayne, and sister Mary Jane Krafnick. He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years Mary Lou (Andrews), children James (Susan), Martha Richard (Louis), Peggy Klein (Douglas), Patricia Sellinger (Daniel), David (Julie), Joseph (Toni), and Jane Anderson (Brett), grandchildren Katherine, Elizabeth, Michael, Steven, Christopher, Anne, Peter, Erica, Alayne, Courtney, Elise, Michelle, Mark, Patrick, Emily and Joel, and great-grandchildren Tanner, Lorelei, Douglas, Isabella, Sam, Adele and Janine. Visitation will take place on Wednesday, February 20th, 3:00-5:00 & 6:00-8:00pm with a 7:30pm scripture service at Hosmer Muehlig Funeral Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, February 21st , 11:00am, at St. Joseph Village Church (corner of 4th and Dover) instate at 10:00am. Memorial donations may be made to the building fund of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dexter, or Arbor Hospice.

Eulogy given by Patricia Sellinger (daughter) for Richard Wander, at the funeral service on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.

Hi, I'm Patty, I'm the middle child of the seven of us. Thank you for being here.

Some of you know that I'm a quilter, and I've been working for quite awhile on a bird quilt -- loons, and ducks, and other birds. Several months ago, at a family gathering, I was showing the quilt to my cousin, also a quilter, and she said, "it must be your Dad who inspired your love of birds, huh?" and when I thought about it I realized that, yes, he certainly did. Doesn't everybody have a Field Guide to Birds in the living room just in case you see a bird outside the window and need to identify it? We always did. I also have a memory of getting an up-close-and-personal look at some ducks that my Dad brought home from a successful duck hunting expedition -- I was probably 8 or 10 -- and I remember thinking it was sort of icky because the ducks were dead, but gosh were they beautiful.

So after Dad passed away, my brothers and sisters and I were talking about memories, and influences that Dad had on our lives, and we wanted to share some of them with you, and thank our Dad. So thank you, Dad, for being a lover of birds, and sharing that with us.

My oldest brother is an avid duck hunter, just like Dad, and all of my brothers fished with Dad. While out on the boat, they might go hours together without even the need to speak; they just enjoying being together, doing something they loved. It is a special bond to share that kind of quiet, comfortable, togetherness. Thank you, Dad.

Some of the grandsons, and granddaughters, also shared Dad's love of fishing with him. Not much could be better than having your Grandpa's arms wrapped around you, helping you reel in a big fish. Thank you, Dad.

Dad loved musicals, and we grew up listening to "Oklahoma," "Porgy & Bess," and "My Fair Lady." My sisters and I take an annual trip together, and often go to see musicals, because we love them too. Thank you, Dad.

Dad was a bowler for many years. Mom bowled too -- they each had "bowling night." Many of us growing up were on kids' bowling teams, and bowled every Saturday morning. Some of his children, and grandchildren, continued that tradition, even to this day. He also loved to play cards. And we all love to play cards. And the grandchildren love to play cards. Simple fun. Simple pleasures. Thank you, Dad.

Raising seven children must have been so much work!! We remember:

--Dad making us ice rinks in the back yard -- lots of standing around in the freezing cold, putting layer-upon-layer of water down, night after night.

--Carrying us up to bed when we were little, as he said, "like a sack of potatoes."

--Family outings to cut down a Christmas tree.

--We remember Dad coming home from work for lunch every day, and after lunch, laying down on the couch for a nap. No, he didn't have an alarm. No cell phone beeper to wake him up, of course. And somehow, he woke up at the exact time needed to get out the door and back to work on time. We never figured out how he did that.

--Sunday drives to Kensington Park.

--Taking us to the Detroit Edison Christmas parties.

--We remember Dad making us root beer floats on the 4th of July, before watching the fireworks from our front yard.

--On vacations at the lake, as we learned to water ski, Dad circling the boat around time-and-time again, as we fell time-and-time again (what patience he had!).

--Dad cooking outside on the grill, year round, using a not-to-be recommended method of starting his fire by pouring gas for the lawn mower onto the charcoal, standing back a ways, and throwing a match into it.

--The summer when Jane was born, Mom stayed home with the new baby, but Dad took the other 6 of us to Long Lake anyway, so that we wouldn't miss our vacation. He always packed our boxes of clothes and supplies in the boat, and that year as we drove the tarp came undone and a box fell out. Dad stopped and took us to a rest stop, where we played while Dad went up and down the expressway, looking for that box. But he couldn't find it. Well that box happened to have all of my brother David's clothing for the week. So David had the shorts and t-shirt he was dressed in, and Dad bought him a swimsuit. And that's what David lived in for the entire week.

--We remember playing "cabbage head" when getting tucked in -- we would hide under the covers and Dad would feel our various body parts (which tickled, of course), saying "oh, this must be an ear of corn," and "oh, this must be a watermelon," and finally when he got to our head, "and this must be a head of cabbage," until we threw off the covers and said, "no, it's me!!"

Family was so very important to Dad. Growing up, we traveled to many extended family occasions -- weddings, anniversaries. I once overheard him talking to a family friend, and he was saying how wonderful it was that his children liked to be with each other, and how happy that made him. He was tearing up about it, and Dad didn't tear up that easily. As some of you know, for almost 30 years, we've vacationed as a family in northern Michigan. Dad hiked and climbed the dunes with us, well into his 80s. The garlic pork steak he would make us every year is legendary. And I don't think he often turned down the grandkids when they asked, "want me to make you a s'more, Grandpa?" And in later years, he and Mom often made side trips to the casino -- Dad did like a good wager now and then. One of Dad's favorite stories happened on one of these up-north family vacations. It was probably 15 or 20 years ago. Mom and Dad had arrived and asked the resort owner in the office if he knew where the Wander group was, and the resort owner responded, "I'm not sure where they are, but if you find one of them, you'll find them all, they run in a pack!!" Dad loved that story. He would smile when my sisters and I would talk about our "sisterhood," our term for our sisterly bond. And I'm sure he got a kick out of seeing his grandchildren bond -- their group "cousin hugs" on the beach at sunset up north. For always putting family first, thank you, Dad.

So you're probably all thinking, geez, this guy must have been some kind of saint. Well, maybe not quite.

My dear husband sometimes tells me that I'm "stubborn." Well, I come by that naturally. Thank you, Dad!! Yes, Dad could be stubborn. If he thought something should be done a certain way, that was the way he was going to do it, and that was that. But Dad's strong, determined, and yes, "stubborn" character served him well. He wouldn't have been our Dad any other way.

Before Dad passed away, his last words to us were, "I love you too." Thank you, Dad.

My brother Jim summed it up perfectly in a few words, just after Dad died, while we were all gathered around him with Mom.

"He was a good man." Thank you, Dad.


  • Visitation Wednesday, February 20, 2013
  • Scripture Service Wednesday, February 20, 2013
  • Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, February 21, 2013

Richard Wander

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Rick Rector

February 26, 2013

Dear Mary Lou and all the kids,

Seeing your husband and dad's obituary brought back many memories of us playing together as kids and next-door neighbors. I still remember all the barbeques your family had on the patio and seeing Mr. Wander carefully stoking the coals on the grill to get them just right, whether for hot dogs or steak. I passed on this page to Ellen and wishes to all of you. I lost Mom in 2002 and Dad in 2004. As my parents still do, your dad will always live on in your heart. I know he loved you all very much.

Roger Wander & Vanessa Lynne

February 23, 2013

Our dear Uncle Rich has lived a very good life - "Rich" indeed. Rest in peace, my favorite uncle. We Minnesota cousins always looked forward to our many summer vacations with you all, and now you and our dear Dad, your admiring youngest brother Wayne, are up there looking after us still. Many soothing hugs and support always to Aunt Mary Lou and our 7 cousins from the other side of the world. Xxx

February 22, 2013

Joe and Toni - We are saddened to hear of your father's passing. Jeff and Nancy Renner

Theresa Stacy

February 21, 2013

Dear Wanders,

I am sorry for your loss. May your memories of your husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather bring you joy and comfort when you think of him. Mr. Wander was a good person and will be missed. Thinking of you all.

Dan and Cindy Bomeli

February 21, 2013

We are so sorry to learn of the death of your husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather. What a wonderful family he helped to create! His life continues, in a way, in the lives of all his cherished family members.

Del & Iris Young

February 20, 2013

We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Cory and Jillian Mann

February 19, 2013

We send our condolences to the entire family. I (Cory) had the opportunity to share many great times with the family at Platte Lake during summer vacation when I was younger and Richard truly was so great with the kids. I will always be thankful for those vacations.

barbara licht

February 19, 2013

I could not have had a better brother-in-law than Rich and I cherish the times we had together as families. Our family sends their love and sympathy to you all.
Aunt Barb and Uncle Paul

Sue Cramer

February 19, 2013

We will miss you, Dick. Know your family and friends surround you with love and wonderful memories.

Minister Tammy Taylor

February 19, 2013

Praise the Lord, With Deepest Sympathy To the Family of Richard Wander. The Care Auxiliary & all the Ministers at Jesus International Ministries, on the behalf of our Pastor Elder Larry Clifton and Asst. Pastor Evangelist Debbie Lucas, would like to send our Deepest Sympathy and words of Encouragement to your family. Know that you are not alone in your sorrow, love and thoughts are with you during this difficult time. May you find peace in Jesus and know that God loves you and others do care and share very deeply in your loss. We pray that you have peace and comfort in this time of sadness and know also that someone's thoughts are present today with you. We at Jesus International Ministries 9820 Haggerty Rd. Belleville, MI 48111 (734)697-2870 Love You and God Bless.