Rick J. Essex, 65, of National City, formerly of Essexville, passed away Sept. 26, 2013 after a short, difficult battle with cancer.
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He was born on July 21, 1948 to Carl Essex and the late Shirley Rank, in Essexville. Rick graduated Essexville Garber High School in 1967 and enlisted in the U.S. Army soon after in 1968. While serving two tours of duty in Vietnam with the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Rick received several accolades, including a Purple Heart.
It was during this time, that Rick married his devoted wife Linda (former Windt). Upon his honorable discharge from the Army, Rick worked for General Motors and studied at Delta College, receiving his associate's degree in 1976. After further study at SVSC, Rick worked as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation counselor for four years before enlisting in the Michigan Army National Guard Active Duty, where he served as a Recruiting and Retention NCO for the Bay Region. In 1987,
Rick moved his family to Lansing where he served as an NCO in recruiting at 1st Battalion, 119th Field Artillery where he won the G-50 award, being recognized as one of the top 50 recruiting NCO's in the country. Rick then transferred to Lansing MEPS, becoming the Recruiting and Retention NCOIC. It was after 29 years of dedicated service to his country, and at the rank of Master Sergeant, that Rick retired from his final post in West Branch in 2000. Rick's children all followed him into careers of service.
Rick is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Linda; and their three proud children, Kris (Michael) Waterman of Auburn, Beth Essex of Medford, N.Y. and Patrick (Neely) Essex of Wellston, Okla.; five grandchildren, Michael, Katelyn, Matthew, Samantha and Kenzie and another granddaughter due in January 2014. Rick is also survived by his father, Carl Essex of Bay City; his mother-in-law, Lena Windt of Essexville; three sisters, Susan (Hubert) Stoffel, Jill Rank and Jeffrey Vink and Kathy (Brian) Reynolds; brothers and sisters-in-law, Richard (Jaqueline) Davies, LeeAnn (Randall) Fritz and Michelle Windt; and numerous nieces and nephews. Rick was preceded in death by his mother and stepfather, Shirley (William) Rank; his step-mother, Pearl Essex; his father-in-law, Arthur T. Windt Sr.; and his brother-in-law, Arthur T. Windt Jr.
It was Risk's desire that his remains be cremated. On Friday, Oct. 11 at Gephart Funeral Home, Inc, 201 W. Midland St., Bay City, MI 48706 (989)686-2291. Military honors shall be conferred at 2:30 p.m. by the U.S. Army and the Bay County Veterans Council. A memorial service will take place at 6 p.m. with Rev. Joseph Atchinson officiating. Friends may call on the family at the funeral home Oct. 11 from 2 to 6 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the USO (United Service Organizations) or to the Wounded Warrior Project. www.gephartfuneralhome.com.
Published in Iosco County News-Herald from Oct. 3 to Oct. 15, 2013