Dick Conrad, formerly of Niles
Richard Dale Conrad, 84, formerly of Niles, father, grandfather, brother, banker and baseball player died peacefully but unexpectedly on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, at this home in South Bend.
He was born on April 7, 1935, on the Conrad farm in rural Buchanan to Ward Emmanuel and Esther (Thompson) Conrad.
He graduated from Niles High School and attended Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) playing baseball at both schools.
He entered the U.S. 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 hosted 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 from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 E. Main St., in Niles.
A celebration of his life is 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 Ave., Buchanan, Michigan 49107; mgcf.org to establish a Dick Conrad Memorial Baseball Scholarship Fund. Online condolences may be left at: halbritterwickens.com.
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.