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Obituary for Richard Joseph Rousar

May 20, 1935 – August 28, 2023

Richard Joseph Rousar, 88, died on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023, at Aurora Medical Center, Mount Pleasant. Richard was born in Racine on May 20, 1935, to Joseph and Margaret (née Gagnon) Rousar. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956.

Richard Joseph Rousar
Richard Joseph Rousar

After dating for several years, Richard and Betty (née Fritchen) planned a wedding in six weeks and were married on June 22, 1957, in Holy Communion Church by Reverend Kenneth Hurst. In 1959, they purchased the home where they have lived for 64 years.

Richard worked for both Specialty Finishing and Norden Woodworking as an installer and cabinetmaker. In 1964, he was hired by the Racine Fire Department. In the early days of his career, he was at Station #2 on Northwestern Avenue and then moved to the newly built Safety Building in downtown Racine. Rising to the rank of Lieutenant, he retired in December of 1990.

Richard was a union supporter, being part of both the Carpenter and Firefighter Unions. He was a blood donor and a part of Racine’s first Scuba team.

In the mid-1960s, Richard and his childhood friend purchased 40 acres in New Lisbon, Wis. Together, they built a cabin and opened it to their hunting buddies. As a family, many Easters were spent “up north,” hiding eggs and riding motorcycles. He enjoyed his garden, scavenging and cutting down trees. His list of hates included squirrels, rice and working on any projects his daughters dragged home.

Richard is survived and missed by his wife, Betty; daughters, Peg (William Thompson) and Betsy; grandchildren, Blake (Allison Carey) Thompson, and Theodora Thompson; great-grandchildren, Katherine, Andrew and Ella Rose; sister-in-law, Carol Fritchen; nephew and godson, Brian Fritchen; sister, Karen Rosera; and nieces and nephews.

Richard is preceded in death by his parents, Margaret and Joseph Rousar; stepfather, William Kucera; brothers, Gerald, Ronald and Edwin; parents-in-law, Harold and Barbara Fritchen; brother-in-law, John Fritchen; his childhood friend and partner, Art Rodenberg; his Siamese cat, Nick; and his pistol-of-a-grandson, Ross Richard Thompson.


A service, with full military and fire department honors, honoring Richard’s life was held at 11 a.m. on Sept. 1 at Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home. Burial took place in Yorkville Cemetery.

A huge thank you to Dr. Robert Brown, Julie Pignotti, PA, and Dr. Prakach Shah, Racine Fire and Rescue, Cecilia, Rhonda, and the staff at Aurora Garden Unit and ER for their loving care of both Richard and his family.

Obituary and photo of Richard Joseph Rousar courtesy of Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home.

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