RICHARD DAVID GROCHOWSKI
Richard David Grochowski died on Nov. 20, 2020, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan, at the age of 74.
Born on Nov. 2, 1946, to Thelma (James) and Anthony Grochowski of Alpena, Michigan, Rich was the third of 12 children. He spent his first years living over Tony and Chet’s Market, the family’s grocery. As a child, Rich played baseball and softball with friends and family, and enjoyed a sugar cookie (or two) from his Grandma Grochowski’s house on Saturday mornings.
Northern Michigan suited Rich from the start. From age 11, he had his own ice fishing shanty on the Fletcher floodwaters. As a young teen, he spent entire summer days snorkeling in Whiskey Bay on Grand Lake, and had the sunburns to prove it. He attended St. Mary’s School and graduated Catholic Central High School in 1964, and was employed at the Market, at the Buick dealership garage, and did construction work on homes throughout Alpena.
Rich proudly served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1966-1970, with fond memories of travelling the world, and not so fond ones of cleaning out the fuel tanks of the USCGC Acushnet. He was adept at everything mechanical, and his wealth of knowledge is irreplaceable. For almost three decades, he was charged with maintenance duties at Alpena Community College, and would go years between sick days. He was a familiar, friendly face to students and staff alike, and helped many a stranded student in need of assistance in the parking lot. Rich retired in 2008 as ACC’s first-ever Technician Emeritus. Prior to Rich’s retirement, only faculty and executive-level administrators had received the Emeritus distinction from ACC’s Board of Trustees.
After the unexpected death of his younger brother Gary in 1978, Rich supported Gary’s widow, Patty, and helped raise her two young sons. Rich and Patty fell in love and were married on July 28, 1979, and would have three more children. With quiet humility, Rich showed the importance of family and service to others, doing so with every ounce of physical energy that a human body could muster. His grown children and their families are forever changed by his selflessness and commitment and are heartbroken over their loss.
Rich’s free time was spent outdoors fishing, hunting, boating, tending his garden or just walking in the woods. His maple syrup was highly sought after. He was constantly making things for loved ones: custom kitchen furniture, a custom workbench, an oak chest, and an easel and three bookshelves for grandchildren, just to name a few. His mother-in-law, Virginia, will miss matching wits at cribbage. He was a devoted husband, a highly-tolerant parent, and the perfect grandpa. He would have dismissed all of these compliments and changed the subject.
Rich is preceded in death by his parents, sister Janice (Raymond) Konarzewski, brother Gary, and granddaughter Esabella Magdaleno. He is survived by: his wife Patricia (Seguin-Werda); siblings James (Helen), Michael (Nancy), Ronald (Renee), Patricia Shauger, Butch (Janice), Julie, Herbert (Norma), Daniel (Karen), and Steven; children Bryan (Kelly), Jerald, Nicole (Tom) Waligora, Jennifer (Fred Magdaleno), and Joseph (Natalie); and cherished grandchildren Frederick, Cecelia, Alexandra, James, Rivka, Linus, and Eliza.
Visitations will be held at McWilliams Funeral Home in Alpena on Tuesday, Nov. 24 from 3-7 p.m. with a prayer service starting at 7 p.m. Visiting will continue on Wednesday, Nov. 25 from 1-3 p.m., following COVID restrictions, with a private service Wednesday at 3 p.m. with the Rev. Joseph Muszkiewicz officiating. Please visit lifestorynet.com to share memories and view Rich’s life story. Online condolences may also be registered at mcwilliamsfh.com. The funeral service will be streamed live on McWilliams Funeral Home Facebook page.