Richard Ira Siler
August 5, 1935 - July 20, 2020
MISHAWAKA, IN - Growing up on a farm in Ashland, OH, Dick learned the value of hard work. After agreeing to go to college, mainly to play football, he met the love of his life, Margie Thompson. They married before their senior year and graduated together, returning to her home city of Elkhart, IN, where they raised a family while he taught and coached for the next 40 years.
Dick began his teaching and football coaching career at Jimtown High School and then moved to Elkhart Community schools to teach social studies/history and driver's ed as well as coach a number of sports. He was the head baseball coach for five years as well as an assistant football coach at Elkhart High School until the school split, at which time he continued the roles at Elkhart Memorial High School. He served as the Crimson Charger's head coach for 25 years. Dick retired from Elkhart Memorial in 1997 after teaching for 40 years. After retirement, he joined the Bethel College (now University) baseball team as an assistant coach and taught a class on coaching for several years, training up the next generation. Always passionate about baseball, he was still serving in that role at the time of his death -- 52 years coaching baseball!
This man loved his family which extended far beyond his three children, their spouses, grandchildren and spouses, and great-grandchildren. His fellow coaches, countless students, and players held a special place in his heart. Dick always had time to listen, share a story (or two or three), pass along advice and maybe a book. He showed up, usually early with a book in hand, to his grandchildren's events: baseball, softball, basketball, and soccer games, concerts, dance recitals, etc. He celebrated graduations from high school and college, and rejoiced at engagements, weddings, and births.
He combined his passion for history and travel to visit 49 of the 50 United States. With his young family, many trips were taken to Civil War battle sites. He wasn't able to travel nearly as much with Margie, who was taken too soon, but continued to travel with his children and grandchildren, friends, and the baseball team.
Through the years, Dick never met a stranger. He would always ask medical personnel, store clerks, and waiters about their lives, making a personal connection. His children knew to expect any errand to take double the time as he chatted with people and often was recognized by former players and students.
After succumbing to congestive heart failure, Dick is finally reunited with his beloved wife. The marriage was a shining example of the love and commitment that makes for a strong union. Their life together on earth was not long enough, but after 18 years apart they are together once again for eternity.
He was preceded in death by his wife Margie, parents J. Clifford and Miriam Siler, brothers Thomas and Jesse Siler, Jr., and nephew Mark Siler. He is survived by children: Scott and Carla (Justice) Siler, Laurie (Siler) and Dave Mastic, and Julie (Siler) Birr; grandchildren: Angela (Siler) and Matthew Ruffner, Justin and Lauren (Miller) Siler, Rebecca Siler, Matthew Siler, Timothy and Marianna (Davydova) Mastic, Cara (Mastic) and Bradley Largent, Emily (Birr) and Chris Wilson, Margaret (Birr) and Tyler Rush; and great-grandchildren: Allan Mastic, Ruth Largent, Koletin Rush, and Toby Rush.
Dick graduated from Ashland High School in 1953, Manchester College (now University) in 1957, and Indiana University with a Masters in School Administration in 1961.
He was inducted into the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, Elkhart County Sports Hall of Fame, Ashland (OH) County Sports Hall of Fame, and Manchester University Hall of Fame.
A Celebration of Life Service is August 1, 2020 at 10:00 am on the Bethel University baseball diamond. Streaming will be available at http://BUPilots.com/watch
. Due to Covid-19, please wear a mask and bring a chair for proper social distancing. The public restrooms will not be available.
Ever the educator, Dick donated his body to the IU School of Medicine. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Manchester Church of the Brethren for the upkeep of the Memorial Gardens or to the Alzheimer's Association