On Sunday, July 23, 2023, at the age of 79, Richard Lee Wilhelm passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, reuniting with his heavenly Father.
Richard Lee Wilhelm, affectionately known as "Dick," was a mischievous and adventurous spirit from the very beginning. Born on May 28, 1944, in Spokane, WA, to Herman "Dutch" and Jean Wilhelm, he was the second of eight children. Growing up and spending most of his life in Post Falls, Dick's childhood was filled with antics that kept his parents on their toes.
From a young age, Dick displayed a unique flair for the mischievous. One of his infamous escapades involved bringing home a horse, boldly declaring, "finders keepers," as if it were his rightful possession. Another time, he claimed a badger as his pet, likely causing quite a commotion in the household. But perhaps his most unforgettable prank was his unfortunate encounter with a skunk. As legend has it, the skunk's presence left him soaking in tomato juice for hours, and he had to endure sleeping outside for a week to avoid the pungent smell.
Alongside his brothers, the Wilhelm boys became notorious for the pranks they cooked up, making life entertaining and unpredictable for everyone around them. Dick's exuberant spirit and playful nature were always evident, bringing laughter and joy to those he encountered. They spent countless hours later in life playing pinochle poker and telling stories from the past, which seem to shift and change depending on the storyteller. He had a special bond with his siblings and a unique sense of humor that endured throughout his life.
At the age of 17, Dick decided to join the US Navy, embarking on a journey that led him to cross the equator on the USS Jupiter on October 25, 1963. He received his Shellback certificate while supporting contingency operations in Vietnam. After his honorable discharge, he met and married Nancy Atkins, and together, they raised three beautiful children.
Throughout his life, Dick worked as a skilled carpenter, contributing to the construction of numerous homes and office buildings in the Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene area. He was not only skilled with his hands but also with his heart, always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Dick's love for the great outdoors was evident in his hobbies of hunting and fishing. He cherished every opportunity to bask in the beauty of North Idaho, spending countless hunting seasons in the mountains surrounding Avery, ID, alongside family and friends.
In addition to his mischievous side, Dick possessed a sweet and gentle soul. He cherished his family fiercely, finding immense joy in visits from his loved ones, especially his grandchildren. His family will treasure the memories created and the love Dick showered on each of them.
During the last two months of his life, Dick resided at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Post Falls, where he continued to enjoy life to the fullest. He played poker, zooming around the halls on his power chair, and formed close bonds with the caring and dedicated staff, who quickly became his friends. His family wishes to express deep gratitude and thanks to the many nurses and other staff who provided such amazing care and friendship.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Tim. His legacy lives on through his daughter Karri and her husband, Mark Sherman, his daughter Melissa Wilhelm, and his son Brian Wilhelm. He also leaves behind his adoring grandchildren; Nikole and her husband, Mike Behne, Nikolas and his wife, Hilary Sherman, Anna Wilhelm, Mikey Williams, Brayden Wilhelm, great grandchildren Alexis and Bella Behne, Faithlyn Delaney and Odin Sherman who will carry fond memories of their loving grandfather in their hearts.
Services to celebrate Dick's life will be held at English Funeral Chapel in Post Falls on August 5 at 11 am, followed by a reception at St. George's Catholic Church in Post Falls. As family and friends gather to remember this unforgettable character, they will share stories of his mischievous escapades, his love for family, and the joy he brought into the lives of those around him.