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1925 Richard 2011

Richard E. Lovett

February 10, 1925 — January 22, 2011

Richard E. Dick Lovett, 85, died Saturday, January 22, 2011, in Rockford. He was born February 10, 1925, in Manson, Iowa to an Iowa banking family in an era when even the smallest farm towns had their own banks. After a childhood in several Iowa and Illinois towns and European service during World War II, he returned to the States on the GI bill, graduating from the University of Illinois in 1949, with a degree in engineering physics. His first job was with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), predecessor to todays NASA, where he did wind-tunnel research at Langley Field, Virginia. He wanted to design things, preferably ones that would fly. But the young engineer had taken too much college math and found himself everyones go-to-helper for theoretical calculations.nbsp;
He enjoyed Virginia, particularly dodging tidal flats in a not-shallow-bottomed-enough boat he and several friends refitted for use on Chesapeake Bay. But he didnt want to spend life as a theoretical mathematician. After two years of equation crunching, he moved to Dixon, where his father was now president of the Dixon National Bank.
But rather than joining the family business, he stayed in engineering, taking a job with the wire-drawing division of the National Standard Company, which, among other things, made wire for mesh screens so fine that some were waterproof.
In 1962, the Dixon plant closed, replaced by one in Corbin, Kentucky. Dick and his young family moved there, then, four years later, to Springfield, Massachusetts, where another division of the company made belts for high-speed paper machines.
German inventors, however, were patenting a plastic version of the same product, and Dick decided it was time for another new career. Because Dixon had always seemed like home, even when he and his family were living in Kentucky and Massachusetts, he went back.
This time he did join his father and younger brother in the bank, heading up its then-tiny trust department. They were going to have to train someone, he later said, so why not me. Not to mention that he, himself, was going to need to retrain regardless. Hed been considering an MBA, but I decided that at 43, I was too old to compete with the younger applicants.nbsp;
He worked for the bank and its no longer tiny trust department for more than 20 years before retiring to Tucson, Arizona, then Rockford. Along the way, he served as an Elder and treasurer for Dixons First Presbyterian Church and on local and regional boards for The Nature Conservancy, YMCA, Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts, and Timberlake Playhouse. At the time of his death, he was an Elder at Third Presbyterian Church in Rockford. Its a good way to get to know and like your fellow men, he once wrote.
Dick is survived by Patricia, his wife of 58 1/2 years;nbsp; his sons, Rick and David (Debnbsp; his grandchildren, Christi and Trish; sister, Ruth McLuckie; brother, Donald (Carol )Lovett. Dick is also survived by George Rolfe and numerous nieces and nephews.
Dick was preceded in death by his sister, Maryann Rolfe and brother-in-law Ben McLuckie.
Services will be held at 10 am, Thursday, February 10, 2011, at Third Presbyterian Church, 1221 Custer Av, Rockford, 61103, with Rev. Dr. Murray Hanson officiating.nbsp; Visitation from 9:00 am until service time at the church on Thursday. Fitzgerald Funeral Home and Crematory assisted the family. In lieu of flowers, send memorials to Stronghold Camp and Conference Center, P.O. Box 199, Oregon, IL, 61061. Share online condolences at www.fitzgeraldfh.com.

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