Richard Ralph (Dick) Haefele was born on October 6, 1926 in Topeka, KS. He died peacefully in his sleep on July 21, 2020 in Ulysses, KS at age 93.
Dick grew up in Topeka on a dairy farm as one of 10 siblings where he learned independence and the value of hard work. He went to Catholic school where he learned how to express his individuality, question authority, and when it might be worth the punishment to do so. He left school at age 17 to serve his country in the Navy during WWII as a ship’s signalman stationed in the Philippines. When he returned from service, he obtained a GED and studied English and history at Washburn University under the GI Bill. While at Washburn, he was swept away by a young co-ed, Beverly Baughman. They eloped to Butler, MO to get married on January 29, 1949, but didn’t tell their parents until days after when Dick came to pick Beverly up for a date. At first her parents wouldn’t let her go, but eventually agreed when they learned they had married. The couple would be together for 71 years until Dick’s death.
The young couple moved to Ulysses, KS in 1952 where Dick taught at Grant County Rural High School. He encouraged his students to think independently and question what they were taught more than he was allowed in his younger days. He also started Haefele Construction, and eventually left teaching to pursue carpentry full-time. He built a number of houses in Ulysses and was well-respected for his remodeling and cabinetry craftsmanship on small and large projects including the lower level of the Grant County Bank. In his later working years, he returned to the school district maintaining the buildings and grounds and occasionally substitute teaching. He liked to recall teaching 2nd graders how to come up with their own philosophy of life. Dick’s example to them was “Always do your best and don’t hurt others.”
Dick and Bev raised four children in Ulysses. Claudia (Eureka, CA), Mark (Houston, TX who preceded him in death), Marty (Lawrence, KS), and Kyle (Lincoln, NE). One of the rare times when all four of them were together as adults, they were discussing who they thought was “Dad’s favorite” child. Each one revealed that they had always considered themselves as his favorite -- a sure sign of a good parent.
Dick was a proud, civic-minded citizen of Ulysses. He was instrumental in starting the Ulysses Golf Course and the high school golf program, where he served as it’s first coach. You can still count his holes-in-one on the plaque in the Bentwood pro shop. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge serving as Grand Lecturer across the State of Kansas. He was active in Rotary, and led the local Red Cross blood drives for many years until age 90.
There will be no service. Cards may be sent to Beverly Haefele at the Western Prairie Assisted Living 705 N. Missouri, Ulysses, KS 67880. Remembrances may be left on the Garnand Funeral Home website (garnandfuneralhomes.com). Memorials may be sent to the American Red Cross of Central/Western Kansas 120 W. Prescott, Salina KS, 67401; or the Rotary Club of Ulysses PO Box 232, Ulysses, KS 67880.