Madison: Heaven received a wonderful man on Sunday, February 17, 2013, when Richard John Uphoff, a true patriarch, joined his beloved wife Shirley. At age 91, Dick enjoyed a full life, especially spending time with his four children, Rod (Marsha), Cheryl (Steve Hoff), Nancy (Paul Craig) and Jim (Alex Braboy) and his seven grandchildren, Ryan Uphoff, Casey (Danielle), Colin and Chelsea Hoff, Matthew, Alex and Adam Craig.
He was born on October 24, 1921 to John and Caroline Uphoff and grew up on a farm near Madison, Nebraska. He was part of the “greatest generation” joining the Marines and serving as an officer in both WWII and the Korean War. Before the war, Dick attended Hastings College where he starred on the football team and ran track. One of his track highlights was running in the prestigious Drake Relays. He also attended Notre Dame. Following graduation, he began his career as a high school math and physics teacher and football, basketball and track coach at Hastings, Nebraska. After his service in Korea, he joined the FBI as a special agent. Eventually, the FBI wanted Dick to transfer to Washington D.C. Rather than uproot his family from Madison, Dick took a position with Cuna Mutual Insurance Group as chief claims examiner. He worked for Cuna Mutual for 26 years retiring in 1987 as the Executive Vice President.
Dick believed in giving back to the community, especially to those in need. His life reflected that selfless philosophy. He was an ardent volunteer and gave countless hours to the Salvation Army, Apostolate for the Handicapped and Meals on Wheels. He was a great supporter of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Edgewood High School. He found time to coach CYO basketball, serve on Queen of Peace School Board, donate blood, prepare taxes for the elderly and much more. Dick will always be remembered by his family as a man who was committed to his Catholic faith and who deeply loved his family. He was his children and grandchildren’s number-one fan and loved to cheer on the kids at school activities and sporting events in Wisconsin, Iowa and throughout the Midwest. Dick was an avid Badger football and basketball fan. He loved golf which he played regularly – walking, not riding a golf cart - until he turned 90! He relished his Wednesday morning golf outings with his buddies and we are grateful to his friends, especially Leon Wagner, for keeping this connection. He was the ultimate handyman and his hard work is on display at Cheryl and Steve’s cabin, Nancy and Paul’s rec room and all four children’s homes. His tool box and power tools were always ready to take a road trip.
Dick’s positive approach to life was appreciated by all who spent time with him. His upbeat personality was contagious and his humor evident within minutes of meeting him. His “flirtatious” personality was a delight and brought a smile to everyone around him. A true gentleman, who never complained, he was beloved by Senior Helpers and the Oakwood staff. The family is especially grateful to John Carrier and Heidi Stringham for the care they provided to Dick in his later years.
Dick’s family recognizes how blessed they were to have had Dick in their lives. He was a role model to all and lovingly appreciated each family member. He enjoyed a special relationship with each of his grandchildren. Dick will be sorely missed, but all will cherish so many special memories.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Madison, on Saturday, February 23 at 11:00 a.m., with Msgr. Don Heiar and concelebrant, Msgr. Doug Dushack.
Private family burial will be held at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, Madison.
A visitation will be held at the church on Friday, February 22 from 5 to 7:00 p.m. An additional visitation will be held at the church on Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. until the time of Mass at 11:00.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Salvation Army of Dane County or the Badger Honor Flight.
To view and sign this guestbook, please visit: www.ryanfuneralservice.com.
Joyce-Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services 5701 Odana Road 608-274-1000