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Richard Thomas Wilem

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Richard Thomas Wilem Obituary
NEWPORT NEWS - Richard T. Wilem, 87, passed away peacefully in his sleep, at home on July 25, 2014. Dick was born in Chippewa Lake, OH on August 21, 1926 to the late Ruth and Nick Wilem, and grew up in Newport News, VA. In 1944 Dick met the love of his life Katherine Jones and they were united in marriage on March 11, 1945 in North Carolina, and had two children, a daughter Lynne and son, Richard (Dickie) II. He served in the Navy and was a veteran of WWII. He was employed by NASA for more than 36 years and retired in 1981 from NASA, Langley Research Center. As a lead supervisor and project manager, he was involved with the development, construction, test and launch activities of the first US Salilite, ECHO, the LDEF experiment, which was launched from the shuttle orbiter Challenger, Apollo, and the Mars Viking Lunar Lander. While employed for NASA, he invented the first self lighted bouy which was patented by NASA. He was a good natured man who was a very loving husband, father, grandfather,great-grandfather, and uncle. He was very generous, thoughtful, and compassionate. He enjoyed socializing with friends and family, dancing, playing the guitar, golfing, and camping. He especially loved entertaining children. Dick and his wife, Katherine of 56 years, had many friends and were very active in the community throughout their married life. He will be deeply missed by his family and all those who knew and cherished his friendship. Now his soul may rest in the most compassionate and peaceful heart of his savior, Jesus Christ. Dick was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine, his brother Herman Wilem and his sister, Virginia Smith. He is survived by his daughter Lynne (Wilem) Spicka and husband Tom of Monticello, IN, his son, Richard Thomas Wilem II and wife Connie of Newport News, VA, his brother Frank J. Wilem of Biloxi, MS, his 5 grandchildren; Angelique Headdy of IN, Tricia Scott of AZ, Tommy Spicka of IN, April Vazquez of VA, and Allen Madsen of Mass. He is also survived by his five great-grandchildren; Alexandra, Carrington, Jonathan and Savannah Headdy and Mateo Vazquez. The family will receive friends on Monday, July 28, at Peninsula Funeral Home from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 29 at the funeral home with burial following in Parklawn Memorial Park with Military Honors.
Published in Daily Press on July 28, 2014
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