Dick Dutkiewicz - Online Memorial Website

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Dick Dutkiewicz
Born in Michigan
76 years
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Family Tree
Sue Miklusicak
Lot's of fond memories of the family, being in "the little store"w  with a much younger Melanie who stated an emphatic "POTTY" to have Rusty say calmly "just take her upstairs, Sue"....Dick and Rusty encouaging us thru some the rough spots we encountered...Always feeling valued and appreciated as individuals..Many times going into their store with a worry or pain and talking with them or Annabel Gracyk and  feeling better..you felt better and cared for...Many Christmas came and went but it was'nt quite Christmas til they got the peanut brittle I'd make them...Iloved that Dick would greet me with a hearty "Sweet Sue"..Rest in Peace, Dick....< Sd feelinp
Steve Dutkiewicz
At the funeral lunch I got up and attempted to give a talk that I called MEMORIES OF THE MAN. Here is a bit longer version in text:

His Family

His Faith

Dick’s religious conviction was as strong as any man’s ever was.

It helped him throughout his entire lifetime. Because it became so second nature, his faith carried him thru his final days here with dignity and stability.

His Store

Any business that you pour your heart & soul into will take you on a ride of acute highs and lows. The grocery business kept Dick & Rusty on that ride for over 40 years. At times the store was his life, demanding more time than he had in a day.

They didn’t have to go out much because, in this business everyone comes in to see you. Whether Dick wanted them to or not!

Everyone knows how soft of a heart Rusty has. However I couldn’t help but notice how Dad was extra nice to his customers that didn’t have it quite as well as others.

His Holiday

Dick had a passion for travel, though he didn’t get much opportunity to do so.

When he did get a week off, he would take us on a whirlwind tour of U.P. waterfalls, or the mountains, or Canada, etc. Dad would often wake us up very early stating, “Let’s get going, you can sleep when we get home.”

His Town

Though he was a G.R. west-sider originally, he made Dorr his own and his aspirations and the Town’s went together well. Towards the end when he couldn’t get out, he would sit at his big window over-looking “his town” with satisfaction.

His carefully considered town board votes guided the small town from the 60’s into the new century. As Township Clerk he made several updates to the election process, often being the first in the County with new systems.

As the bill-payer for Dorr, he protected the town’s assets by questioning any bills he felt were dubious (just being a tight Pollack, in his words).

His Heritage

Mr. Dutkiewicz was fiercely proud of his Polish legacy. He greatly admired

Karol Wojtyla - Pope John Paul II.

His Music

His love of music ranged from his favorite Traditional Jazz to old time Polka’s. When I first started drumming, Dad would encourage me to listen to the Jazz Greats like Buddy Rich & Gene Krupa. He was proud of his boy’s enduring band TRICKS and had a supporting element in some of our biggest dates.

His Disposition

Perhaps his most striking attribute, Dick was never shy about letting you know about where you stood with him. If you were with him, he was a strong ally.

If you were wasting his time, he’d tell you plainly where the door was, as many first- time salesmen found out. Those that didn’t know how to take him- never came back.

Many sales rep.’s learned that to earn his respect, sometimes you would have to “give it right back” to Dick… It made for very lively business relationships.

His strong demeanor served him well in his daily business which kept him so busy that most often, he didn’t have time to mince words.

Because of his tell-it-like-it-is attitude, Dick’s friends and enemies were many. Perhaps our world would be better off if we all were a bit more plain-spoken like Dick was. Would you say it’s better to tell everyone what they‘d like to hear?

None of us get that mix just right every time.

Those that befriended him will tell you that he was just the opposite around them.

Many of his Lady customers got to know him well and are not only Dick’s Market’s most loyal customers, many of them visited him the last year at home.

Richard E. would discuss matters with friends in the back room of the old store in the morning over a cup of coffee - or after closing at night over a cold beer.


he’s gone to see Chet & Peg and his old friends like Steve & Bob Kaczanowski & Chet Bala & Bob Merren & the whole gang.

I’d close with Rest in Peace Dad - but just like when some fool told him to “have a nice day,” and he’d fire back, “I’ll have whatever kind of day I damn well please,”

I think Dick Dutkiewicz will rest in peace… or however he pleases. God Bless.

I never fully appreciated what our father did for his family day in and day out until I had a family of my own. Isn’t that the way it always goes? I try to live up to his example as a noble, honest man. I hope my kid’s can someday say the same.

Matt Merren

Grandpa you were the roughest, toughest teddy bear I have ever known. You always tryed to act all tough and rough. We all knew you were one big sot teddy bear. You were onw of the sweetest old men this world has ever known. You were also the world's best kielbasa maker. One of the best memories I have of you was when I was 10 years old. You were playing poker at my house and I was sitting between you and my dad. You had a beer sitting right next to my pop. I reached down to grab my pop and i accidentally grabbed your beer. I only took one little sip and spit it all over the floor. I never saw you laugh so hard. Right after though yopu seemed like you were upset and you looked at me and said did you just spit my beer all over the floor. That is just the way you were. You could never let us know you were happy. We all know you were a happy soft hearted man. That is why we all loved you so much. You and grandma taught me so much. You two taught me what it means to be a true Catholic. You guys also taught me it's okay if you weren't totally perfect. I want to thank you and grandma for all the things you guys taught me. I will always miss you grandpa. I will also never stop loving you.


                                                                                       Love You Always, 


Mel & Linda Stoepker
What a sad loss, not only Dick's family but to the entire community. Dick was a fixture here for as long as we can remember. Whenever we think of Dick and Rusty we think warm and fuzzy thoughts. They were a perfect pair and complimented each other and their beliefs and actions. When we think of Dick the first picture that comes to mind is him standing behind the meat case and expertly seasoning Kelbasa and grinding beef as we waited and chatted with him about the events of the day. We wouldn't buy meat anywhere else. Fortunately, he has passed this skill down to his kids. We'll miss you Dick. Rest in Peace.
Mark Walker

Wow... After reading all the entries by Dick's kids and those who knew and worked with Dick and Rusty all these years in Dorr, I feel like an outsider!  But I'll share MY memories of Dick.


My wife Julie and I moved here to Dorr in July of 1982.  My Godparents - Les & Maxine Myers - had been here for many years and I recall being in Dorr and going to Dick's Market when I used to go visit them as a child, so I was familiar with and liked the Dorr area.


I recall Julie and I 'church shopping' - visiting St. Mary's in New Salem, Visitation in  North Dorr, St. Therese in Wayland, and settling on St. Stanislaus as it seemed to have a greater number of young married couples just starting their families - like us.   And of course Dick and Rusty being there - with their youngest still teenagers.


I remember tentatively showing up at Saturday evening Mass there around 1983 or 1984 - when it was still at 7:00 - and timidly joining in with Pete Boyd, Vince Koperski, Trina Likely and one of the Kloska girls.  I felt like such an outsider, and my first impressions of Dick was when he'd gruffly 'harp' at me after Mass about how "Guitars and banjos and all that crap have no place in church!  Give me organ music anytime!"   I played music at St. Stanislaus for 24+ years, and recall NOT seeing Dick very often at the Saturday afternoon/evening 'folk' Mass, but Rusty - a Lector - would often be there and praise me, Vince and Pete for our musical ministries.   However at one point, Dick gave me an old vinyl record album - which I still have - of a banjo-playing priest.  The title - 'Songs Father Taught Me' by Father Joseph Dustin (C.S.S.R.) and his red-hot banjo.  Curiously - as I look at the picture on the front - it actually resembles a younger Dick Dutkiewicz!   So I know Dick wasn't totally averse to 'folk' music.

(On that note, I felt so honored to be asked by the family to play music at Dick's funeral; Rusty assured me that even though he'd never have admitted it, Dick truly did enjoy the folk Masses we did for years!)


I spent 17 years working for Spartan Stores, and always used to 'get it' from Dick about being some sort of 'traitor' to Spartan whenever I'd meander into his 'Viking' food store for that loaf of bread, box of cereal, or 'emergency' gallon of milk.  (Young kids ONLY live on cereal and milk you know!)  I'd give it right back to Dick and tell him he should join the Spartan Stores fold - which eventually DID happen.  I recall one time Pat Quinn (then the President and CEO of Spartan) gave me a Winross scale-model toy Spartan truck to give to Dick - this when Dick's Market was still a Viking food store, and shortly after they'd moved to the new store up to Hillcrest Mall.  Dick actually put that bright green and yellow Spartan truck in the window of the store, and the first time a Viking rep showed up and saw it, Dick gave him some static about how "...even the competition gave me a little something for my new store - I get NOTHING from Viking!"  That was pure Dick! 


Everyone who came to know Dick soon realized his bark was far worse than his bite!  The first few times I interacted with him (at parish picnics, church functions, or in the store - wherever) I was a bit intimidated, but soon came to realize his heart was the biggest thing about him.  I always loved the way he and Rusty were so much a 'team' - she being the 'calming' half of it.   Dick would grumble and growl and bark, and she'd gently 're-convey' his true feelings.  I love 'em both, and will miss Dick so much.  


God Bless you Dick.  And I hope you're getting a big dose of guitar, banjo and mandolin music in heaven!

Mark Pasma

My first and probably the most favorite memory is when I went to Dick’s Market to ask Dick for Paula’s hand in marriage. Of course, he was in the meat department. Where he always was. Steve was also there which made it a little easier. So, I walk in. Dick and Steve were both sharpening their knives at the time! I thought to myself, I’m going to die!!! So, I decided to ask anyway. Steve stopped sharpening. Then I asked Dick for Paula’s hand and you know what he said? “ It’s about time!!!” We had been seeing each other for about four years.

A couple of other memories from the store. I worked in the store on and off for a lot of years. I really got to see how he interacted with the customers. I would be stocking shelves or something. He would see a customer looking down an isle. He would say “ You gonna go down that isle or what!!” or “You gonna by something or just push the cart around!!” He would also say “ The stuff just doesn’t jump in the cart!!” His demeanor was that of grumpy owner that would light hundred dollar bills with a cigar. He was not that at all. After you get to know him as I did, he has the best heart in the world. A giant teddy bear.

My most recent memories are from the past couple months. Rusty started needing help lifting Dick out of bed. Since I’m only a block away she would call me. I would go and we would each grab an arm and lift him up. My daughter had drawn a picture that they put under a crucifix in the room. Dick would look at that picture and always say “ okay Rachel are you ready? Or “ here we go Rachel” He would say that to Luke’s pictures as he would use his walker going from the living room to the kitchen table. When the phone would ring sometimes I would say to myself “it’s Rusty again” Now if the phone rang one more time I would be there at the first ring!!!

Jacquelyn (Jackie) Peterson Van Dore

  We didn't see much of our Michigan relatives once we left in 1958. But we made several trips back to see everyone - all five kids packed into a car.  Our kids remember going out to the store with us or with Grandpa Peterson. Their fond recollection was the Dutkiewiczs all living above a STORE. We used to even have Dick mail kielbasa to us here in Colorado. Not one made it as good as Dick. We send our sympathy to all the family. I can't even imagine your feeling of loss. We received the notice of his passing from Jo Petranka and I could only stare at the screen and wonder about your great loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.

 Jackie, Bill (Russ), Nancy, Bobbie (Barbara), David, Peter and Stephen.

Sam & Lisa Lain
Our thoughts & prayers to all of the family.  Dick & Rusty have been like my 2nd set of parents, as I practically grew up in their house.  Thank you for all the wonderful childhood memories.  I have nothing but love, honer and respect for Dick.  Love to each and everyone of you.
Rick Dutkiewicz
Please take the time to share your memories of our dad.
We have long stories from the kids at the "Life Story" page.
But on this page, we would love to hear about your personal tidbits of memories to help us celebrate Dick's life.
I've got one that just popped into my head.
We would be back from church on Sunday and sitting down for our one chance to eat as a family, because the store was closed on Sunday's. (Remember way back then?)
Almost without fail, right when mom was about to sit down and join us, the phone would ring with someone saying "oh, we forgot to get milk, could we stop by the back door and pick up a half gallon"?
It was always the same story: Dad would grumble, "they don't even shop here, they shop at Meijer's, forget it, tell 'em to go get milk at Meijer's". Mom would say, "well, if we help them out here, maybe they'll start shopping here more often".
It was such a pain to dad, because it was interrupting our one chance to sit down and be a "normal" family. But mom wouldn't hear any of his grumbling. She'd go down and meet the people at the back door, or else she'd have one of us kids go down. All the while, dad would just sit there eating in quiet resignation - not really angry, but tasting the bitterness of injustice.
Total Memories: 9
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