March 17, 2020
Richard Louis Benesh Jr., 85, of Brodhead, Wisconsin, died Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at Monroe Hospice Home in Monroe, Wisconsin.
A memorial service will be conducted at a later date.
Richard was born March 16, 1935, in Oran, Iowa, son of Richard Louis and Kathryn (DeRoos) Benesh. While growing up, he spent a lot of time visiting his maternal grandparents in Rock Rapids, Iowa. He joined the U.S. Air Force Intelligence and trained as a Russian specialist during the Cold War years, stationed in Germany. Upon his return to the U.S., he attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning teaching certification. He was the first high school Russian teacher in Iowa, teaching Russian and German in Waterloo, Iowa. He earned his PhD in German at the University of Iowa and was a German professor at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at the University of Iowa. Eventually, his mother moved into her father’s home in Rock Rapids after he was widowed and could no longer take care of himself. Dick’s father joined her after he retired and Dick moved to Rock Rapids around 1983. He had his own consulting business, working on economic development with communities and Indian tribes.
On Jan. 16, 1988, he married Michele Telford Riter in Rock Rapids and the couple moved to Wisconsin. He worked with the Ho-Chunk and then accepted a German position at Beloit Memorial High School where he worked until his retirement in 2006.
Dick was a member of the Brodhead Congregational UCC, serving on the church council, the pastoral search committee and the land-use committee. He volunteered on a number of community projects.
Survivors his wife, Michele; his mother-in-law, Jacqueline Telford of Rock Rapids; his children, Jeff (Allison) Riter, Chad (Cindy) Riter, Aimee and Brian Fish, Joseph Benesh and Jared Benesh; seven grandchildren and his nephews and their families.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Kathy Nordberg; his brother-in-law, Robert Telford, and his father-in-law, Charles Telford.