ELKHORN, Wis. – D. Michael Rich, 67, of Elkhorn, formerly of Alden and Rockford, died Friday, July 12, 2013, at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center, Elkhorn. His body grew weary of bouncing back and carrying on from various medical setbacks and procedures.
Michael was born in Harvard on Feb. 16, 1946, the son of the late Margaret (McCullough) and George Rich. Michael's brain was injured during delivery and that caused communication challenges. Blessed with a dedicated teacher who worked with him at school and a family that worked with him at home, Michael was able to learn to read and write and express himself artistically. He also carried out chores on the family dairy farm in Alden.
As a young adult, Michael was a client of Pioneer Center for Human Services in McHenry. He enjoyed working in the sheltered workshop and participating in social events, particularly bowling, dancing and Special Olympics
. Following the death of his father, Michael moved into the Seborg Terrace group home in Rockford. There with his housemates, he worked at Barbara Olson Center of Hope for many years. He was especially proud of the Christmas cards they printed that featured a Christmas tree that he drew. Due to medical needs, Michael had to leave his home at Seborg Terrace to enter a skilled care facility. He moved to Holton Manor in Elkhorn on July 18, 2012, to be closer to his sisters. While he regretted leaving the physicians and caregivers that he knew and loved in Rockford, he made new friends of the physicians and caregivers that he had in Wisconsin.
Michael was a sweet and good-humored person who kept track of the weather and the moon. He enjoyed animals (particularly Jersey cows, horses, dogs and cats), flags blowing in the wind, strawberry milkshakes, watching Cubs baseball games, holidays, music to dance to and having a daily routine. He went "Home from Work" at 4 p.m. Friday, July 12, 2013.
Michael is survived by his two sisters, Sue and Joyce Rich, both of Elkhorn; and his brother, Paul Rich of Harvard.
An informal memorial gathering will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, in the dining hall at Lutherdale Bible Camp, N7891 Highway 12, Elkhorn. Please bring a favorite memory of Michael to share and enjoy "yum-o" food overlooking the lake. Children are welcome.
Memorials can be made to organizations that support developmentally disabled individuals (i.e., Special Olympics, VIP Services, Pioneer Center for Human Services and Barbara Olson Center of Hope.) Michaels's cremains will join those of his parents at the family farm.
Haase-Lockwood & Associates Funeral Homes and Crematory of Elkhorn is assisting the family.