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Dick (Richard Carl) Mies passed away Monday evening at Lutheran Hospital, where he had been a patient more than three weeks. Death was attributed to serious heart problems, along with several other major complications. He had been a patient of Dr. Robert Swint of the Heart Medical Group, for more than 31 years.
He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Carl Henry (Molly) and Martha Dawson Mies on July 8, 1930, and attended St. Joseph School in Decatur, after the family moved here in 1935. After graduation from high school in 1948, he attended the University of Detroit with best friend Eugene Pud Baker, before transferring to Villanova University in Philadelphia from which he graduated in 1953. While in college, he was a member of the R.O.T.C., and was given his deployment orders at his graduation ceremony. He eventually attained the rank of Captain in the Marine Corps, and later became an instructor for the Marine Reserves in Fort Wayne.
When he returned to Decatur in the fall of 1955, he met Gwen Hilyard, who was then a reporter for the Decatur Daily Democrat. At that time, he had joined with his parents in the operation of Mies Recreation and the 11th Frame, and then he and Gwen were married in June of 1957. Together, the Mies families purchased the 39 acres of ground on #224 between the golf course and the then Schwartz Ford company and in October of 1961 opened Villa Lanes (named after Villanova) and the adjoining restaurant (later to be names Robertos after brother Bob Mies) and Mollys place (after Dicks father.) Dick spent his entire adult life as Proprietor of the Villa Lanes establishment, before retiring in 1995.
In the 1970s, he was appointed as campaign manager of Adams County for Sen. Birch Bayh, who was then running for president, and the men remained good friends over the years. Until recent years, Dick remained highly active in local politics and wholeheartedly supported any person elected. He was extremely active in many philanthropic endeavors, and opened the bowling center as a place for young people to meet before the building of the new Boys & Girls club. He and Dick Wemhoff were the primary leaders responsible for the formation of that organization and was one of the original board members. Just recently Mies was presented with a Distinguished Service award from the Club, as well as Life Membership. For many years, the young people from the Boys and Girls club have been going to the Mies home on a weekly basis for special swimming parties. They have also been very supportive throughout his many illnesses by sending countless cards and letters, and offering physical clean up days around the pool. For many years, he served as president of the Community & Family Services.
The local Lions club was always an important part of his life, and he managed to attain 50 years of perfect attendance. He had served as president of the local chapter, and later was a Zone Chairman for that club. Later, he became involved with Habitat for Humanity, and was instrumental in organizing St. Mary parish to be the first area church to donate and physically build one of the Habitat homes in Adams County. He was also involved in the building of at least five of the other Habitat homes. For many years, he was a Boy Scout leader, and also served as an assistant Little League coach for the Pleasant Mills teams. Story Telling was another big part of his life, and he attended many story-telling sessions, and was a guest of numerous school classes and other organizations. Until recently, he was an active member of the Elks, the American Legion, the V. F. W., and the Moose lodge.
His greatest love, besides his family, was the Catholic faith. His strong affiliation with St. Marys led him to achieve an advanced degree in theology, and for many years he served with Sister Margaret Rose and Kathy Edwards as an instructor for the R.C.I.A. classes for persons wanting to know more about the Catholic Church, and those who wanted to join the church. He was an accomplished Liturgist, and an Eucharistic minister, and for many years took communion to the sick, elderly, and homebound.
Survivors are his wife Gwen, daughter Jennifer Jo (Phil) Temple, of Fishers, Indiana; and sons Michael Kevin (Monica Jones), of Waxhaw, North Carolina; Gregory Vaughn (Jane Leakey), of rural Decatur; and Eric Richard, currently living in Chicago. Grandchildren include Tyler Kimmel, of California; Ashley Kimmel, living in Australia; Brittney Mies (Aaron Such), of Danville, Indiana; Jazmen Mies and John Hindenlang, of Decatur; Jesica (Matt Adams), living in Berne; Zachory Mies, of Decatur; and Alex Mies, of Waxhaw, North Carolina. Dick was also the proud great-grandfather to 15 month old Xavier Gene Richard Hindenlang, whom he and Gwen lovingly baby sat two days a week. Also surviving are three step-grandsons, Jonathon, Jordon, and Joel Temple of Indianapolis. Dicks only brother Bob Mies (Linda Brokaw) survives, as do four sisters, including Pat (Bill) Koenig, of Switzerland, Florida; Nancy (Ron) Helmbright, of Maricopa, Arizona; Leonida (Ted) Hutker, of Oro Valley, Arizona; and Candy (Dick) Parks, of Decatur. Also surviving is one sister-in-law, Barbara Hilyard Krueckeberg, of Decatur. Many nieces and nephews also mourn his passing.
Calling will be at the Haggard and Sefton Funeral Home from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, and again at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary of the Assumption Church, with the funeral mass following at 11 a.m. Military rites by American Legion Post 43. Memorials may be made to the church building fund, Habitat for Humanity, or the Boys and Girls fund. A memorial garden is also being planned for the Mies prayer corner, as well as landscaping for the trees, shrubbery and flowers lost in their recent fire. Family and Friends have also established a personal guest book, where condolences, letters, notes and fond memories can be sent by visiting www.caringbridge.org/visit/richardmies.