Richard “Dick” Lucie, 85, died December 21, 2020 at his Basco home surrounded by family.
Dick is survived by his wife of 65 years, Nancy (Collins); daughter Teresa (Thompson), grandchildren Jake and Alex (Kristin) Thompson, and great grandchildren Sophia and Jonny; son Mitch (Carla), and grandchildren Matt (Kristen), Nick (Margo), and Brock (Kelsey); daughter Jill (David) Beck, grandchildren Christy Dickinson (Wes) and Jacob Beck (Christine). He is also survived by his brother Frankie (Barb) Lucie and sister Ruth (Mike) Russell, as well as numerous nephews, nieces, and great nieces and nephews.
Born August 2, 1935, in Keokuk, Iowa, the first child of Raymond and Lorraine Lucie, Dick attended Western Illinois University for one year before following his passion and beginning his lifelong career as a farmer. His commitment to family and love for the land exemplify the best of rural America, formed by the still rhythms of nature and community.
Dick loved doing much more than talking and showed his generosity through gifts of service. He and Nancy contributed tennis courts for the Basco community when their children were teenagers, co-chaired the Hancock County Relay for Life for many years, and Dick served on Unit District 316’s school board for two terms in the 1960s and 1970s.
Dick’s favorite memories were created with family. He and Nancy loved to travel, often with their children or friends. A safari in Africa, a mail run to the North Pole, and a cruise through the Panama Canal ranked at the top of his adventure list.
An avid sports fan with a keen memory for statistics, he especially loved St. Louis Cardinal baseball and University of Illinois basketball. In recent years, the family would often gather in St. Louis around Dick’s birthday, renting a suite at Bush Stadium to enjoy baseball, one another, and the Midwest summer. As the seven grandchildren were growing up, Dick and Nancy attended at least one game per sport per child per season—whether soccer, pole vaulting, football, cross county, or the myriad other sports in which the children participated.
The epitome of Paul Harvey’s memorable 1978 speech, “So God Made a Farmer,” Dick’s life is beautifully framed through that lens: “And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer. God said, I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.’ So God made a farmer. . . . God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop midfield and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer. . . . Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.’ So God made a farmer.” His brother Frankie and three nephews, Charles, Steven, and Adam Lucie followed his footsteps in farming.
Dick enjoyed gardening and was tilling, weeding, and harvesting until the final few months of his life. Like him, his tools are now at rest, but the fruit of his labor lives on in the family he raised. The family was blessed to have him at home for the final few days of his life.
A private service (due to Covid) to honor Dick’s life will be held December 29, 2020. His cremains will remain on his Basco farm. In lieu of flowers memorials are welcome, especially for the following charities:
Chaddock Boys Home
Lucie Critical Thinking Award at Illinois State University
Warsaw United Methodist Church
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