Richard E. "Dick" McWethy
January 14, 2014
Richard E. "Dick" McWethy, 92, passed away peacefully with his family at his side at their home in Fort Myers, Florida on January 14, 2014.
Son of the late Roy and Zula McWethy, Dick was born and raised in Aurora, IL. The family summered near South Haven, MI, where they enjoyed swimming, tennis, and sailing. He was first in his class at West High in Aurora (an honor he and his cousin Sue McWethy always shared), and then went to Caltech in Pasadena, California in mechanical engineering. On active duty with the Naval Reserve when school wasn't in session, Dick spent the summer aboard the 110' schooner Volador (the Navy had requisitioned all large yachts on the West coast during World War II), patrolling 100-150 miles offshore watching for Japanese submarines. After graduation he was sent to communications training at Harvard, where he met his future wife Ann at a Navy/USO dance and immediately knew "she was the one". They were married in her home near Boston in January, 1944, before postings to San Diego and Seattle. Dick was then sent to Attu, at the end of the Aleutian Island chain in Alaska, where he worked with code machines and they launched bombing runs over northern Japan. He noted weather reports on Attu always ended with "wind gusts to 60 knots".
After the War, they returned to Aurora where Dick joined the family business, McWethy Brothers Insurance, established by his great-grandfather and great-uncle in 1869. Dick specialized in livestock and farm insurance, bought a farm in Oswego and moved there with his family, where they have lived ever since, while also enjoying winters in Florida. He spent many happy days with his horses riding trails in southern Illinois, Wisconsin, and Montana. Dick was active for many years with the Boy Scouts as was his father, with the YMCA in Aurora, enjoyed playing tennis daily until age 88 - winning many trophies and titles and volunteering at many tournaments - loved his dogs and horses on the farm in Oswego, was a long-time member of Union League in Aurora, was an active member of Rotary since the early 1950's, most of that time with the Aurora Noon club, and lately with the Rotary Club of Oswego. The family were members of New England Congregational Church in Aurora, and then Good Shepherd United Methodist Church after moving to Oswego.
Dick was predeceased by his parents; older sister Doris and brother-in-law Dr. George Plain, South Bend, IN; older brother and sister-in-law John and Mary McWethy of Aurora, Western Springs, IL and Sun City, AZ; nephew George Plain (Mari), MD, South Bend, IN; and nephew John "Jack" (Laurie) McWethy of Arlington, VA and Boulder, CO.
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Ann; older brother Robert D. McWethy (Elizabeth), Captain USN (Ret), of Annapolis, MD; sons Merrill of NC, and Lee (Sandy) of Oswego, IL; daughter Peggy Sutton of Oswego; and grandchildren Anna (Patrick) Sutton Stinson of Oswego; Jim (Leyna) Sutton of Orlando, FL; Maggie McWethy of St. Louis, MO; and Collin and Austin McWethy of Oswego.
According to his wishes, a service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Richard E. & Ann R. McWethy Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, 111 W. Downer Pl, Aurora, IL 60506; Wayside Cross Ministries, 215E. New York St, Aurora, IL 60505; Good Shepherd United Methodist Church of Oswego, IL; Hope Hospice of Ft. Myers, FL; or to the
. Dick would be pleased if friends would do something kind for someone else in his memory.
Affordable Cremations and Horizon Funeral Home - Ft. Myers
1605 Colonial Blvd. Ft. Myers, FL 33907
Published in The News-Press on Jan. 24, 2014