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Richard W Brotherson
May 4, 1930 ~ January 27, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Richard Willard Brotherson (Dick), 93, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday, January 27, 2024, at Greenleaf Health Campus, in Elkhart, IN.
Dick was born on May 4, 1930, in Mishawaka, Indiana, to Howard Christian Brotherson and Lucille Stackman Brotherson, and grew up in South Bend while spending his summers on Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, MI. He attended Thomas Jefferson school in South Bend through 9th grade, where he met his future wife, Patricia Kissinger Brotherson. At Thomas Jefferson he was a 4-sport athlete and voted the Most Outstanding Student and Most Likely to Succeed at his graduation prior to entering high school at John Adams. Dick graduated from John Adams in 1948 where he was on the golf team and a leader of the High Y Service Club. Dick attended University of Notre Dame, graduating in 1952 with a BS degree in Commerce, where he was in the Naval ROTC. He was also a founding member and Commodore of the Notre Dame Sailing Club. Dick and Pat were avid sailors, sailing Snipes early on and had the distinction of being the first non-residents of Eagle Lake to win first place in the Eagle Lake Regatta in 1951. Dick still had all his sailing trophies proudly displayed in his home before his passing.
In addition to his parents and in-laws, John M. (Jack) and Kathryn Kissinger, Dick was predeceased by his wife of nearly 61 years, Pat, and son, James R. Brotherson, as well as a sister, Mary B. Hardig, and sister in-law, Sally K. Wilt. Survivors include his daughters, Susan “Susie” M. Swartz (Marshall) of Winston Salem, NC, and Nancy B. Banks (John) of Union, MI. He is also survived by a daughter-in-law, Patricia P. Brotherson of Elkhart, 6 grandchildren, Andrew “Drew” Brotherson (Linda), of Bristol, IN, Spencer Brotherson of Indianapolis, Brian Chappell (Alexandra) of Cary, NC, Maj. Adam Chappell (Kendra) of Yorktown, VA, Matthew Banks of Nolensville, TN, and Lindsay Borden (Nicholas) of Niles, MI, two bonus grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, a brother-in-law, James Hardig, of South Bend, a nephew and 7 nieces.
After graduation from Notre Dame as a commissioned Naval Officer, Dick served in the Navy during the Korean War, and upon discharge, took a position with Phillips 66 in Indianapolis, beginning a 42-year career in the petroleum industry as a distributor. From Indianapolis, he moved to Bloomington, IN, and in 1959 the family moved to Elkhart, IN, where he went to work with his father-in law, John M. Kissinger, who owned J &K Oil Company. After the Kissingers retired, Dick and Pat took over J&K Oil, where they remained until retirement in 1996.
Dick was a member of Kiwanis for 5 years, and later joined the Rotary Club, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow and a member for over 54 years. It was through his service at Rotary that his love for the Wellfield Botanic Gardens began. This consequently led to his donation of the fountains in two of the ponds at the Gardens.
Dick was a former member of the Board of Directors of the Elkhart Career Center where he was President for one year. He was also a former member of the Elks BPO 425, Christiana Creek and Elcona Country clubs where he could enjoy golfing. Dick was also a member of First Presbyterian Church in Elkhart for over 63 years where he was a Deacon and a Trustee through the years.
Dick loved golf and played until his late 80’s when his back told him it was time to put away the clubs. Their summer home at Diamond Lake was a gathering place for all the children and their friends until the late 1980’s and afforded fun family times where Dick could continue his love for sailing, this time sailing an MC.
Dick and Pat loved to travel, having visited all the continents with the exception of Antarctica and Australia. Dick also made a solo trip to Thailand the year after Pat’s death and came home 20 pounds lighter due to his dislike of Thai food! Dick and Pat also loved antiques, buying and selling under J&K Antiques for a good portion of their married life. Dick never met a stranger and was known as a jokester, even when it was not entirely appropriate! He was most proud of his Honorary Sheriff’s Deputy badge, presented to him at Rotary many years ago.
A Celebration of Life for Dick will be held in early spring. In the meantime, Dick would like for all to remember to “Be Good”, his favorite parting words to everyone who passed through his home in his later years. Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wellfield Botanic Gardens, 1011 N. Main Street, Elkhart, IN 46514, The Rotary Foundation, 14280 Collections Center Dr., Chicago, IL 60693, or the Notre Dame Sailing Club C/O University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.
To leave the family an online condolence, please visit the funeral home website.