Richard C. Zartler
9/6/1939 - 10/14/2016
There once was a young man that lived in Chicago. He loved fast cars, tools, fishing, and telling a good story. He married his high school sweetheart on the hottest day of the year in 1959 without any fans or air conditioning, but that didn’t dampen their excitement and happiness of starting their life together.
Their wedding reception was held at the Lone Tree Inn – never guessing that they would return to that same town to raise their family some years later.
The young man worked hard, and together they set up housekeeping.
Soon they welcomed a daughter – their little bundle of joy. This small, happy family moved from the city to the suburb where they welcomed a second daughter five years later.
The young man worked hard as an auto mechanic, while his wife created a happy home. He enjoyed fixing the house up and making improvements. He was fond of his Pall Mall’s, Hamm’s, and card nights with other couples.
He was a man of his word. Once he promised his daughters that he would build them a rabbit hutch when he returned from a fishing trip. He returned with his arm in a sling, but wouldn’t think of letting his daughters down. Instead he created, without any plans, a two story rabbit hutch that soon housed a new pet.
It started with a general store, but soon evolved to dollhouses complete with electricity, hardwood and tiled floors, shaker style wood shingles, and furniture and other details too numerous to mention.
In later years there was a reproduction flower shop, to replicate the one owned by his father in law, and barns for his grandsons, too. When he worked on the miniatures, he had a patience and steadiness of hand that you just wouldn't believe.
All of his creations stand as testament to his incredible workmanship, patience and ability to make something from nothing. Many of his creations are packed safely away to be shared with future generations.
As his daughters grew older, he grew more protective. A man with big biceps and huge forearms, he could be very intimidating until the right young men appeared to court his daughters. Once they were married, it was time again for he and his wife to enjoy time antiquing and traveling. In 1988, he suffered a severe brain aneurysm, just a short time after his dear friend and colleague survived one himself. He only had a minute chance of survival and things were touch and go, but he was a fighter and exceptionally blessed to survive with only short term memory and environmental sensory issues. He was now “retired” and woodworking became a therapeutic hobby.
In a few short years, he took on a new role – that of beloved Papa to a granddaughter followed by three grandsons. A new playful side emerged.
As time went on, the crowds and traffic of city and suburban life affected him more as a result of the brain aneurysm, and it was time to start a new life adventure – moving to a small town in central Illinois. Although family thought this might be a temporary move, this man and wife found a strong community of neighbors and a supportive church family where they quickly felt at home. Here, Pall Mall’s and Hamm’s were replaced by buttercream cake with extra frosting and caramel delight ice cream.
His family was so blessed to have the extra bonus years since the brain aneurysm and the prostate cancer, but now it was time to leave his earthly family and complete his journey to his heavenly home…
He was a good man – meticulous, a strong work ethic, who could fix anything and make something out of nothing. He passed on his love of cars to oldest daughter and her family and passed on his love of fishing to his youngest daughter and her family. He loved to go for car rides, tell a good story, and make people laugh. He was true to this even until his last days in the hospital and at home.
"My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever"
(this bible verse appeared on his granddaughter's phone as her daily reading as he took his final breaths... God's hand at work.)