Richard Stuart Blomberg passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 81 on August 10, 2023 in Arvada, Colorado. He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Patricia (Patty Hill) Blomberg, his daughter, Michelle Blomberg (Kevin Bergthold), his son Richard E. Blomberg (Tina Blomberg) and his grandchildren Devan Shivnani, Jillian Shivnani, Jasper Shivnani, Madeline Blomberg, Isabella Blomberg, and Charlotte Blomberg.
He was born in Highland Park, Michigan on Christmas, December 25, 1941 to Evelyn (Williams) and Stuart Blomberg. Richard grew up in Detroit on Murray Hill, attended Bow Elementary School and graduated from Cooley High School. He loved to tell stories about his elementary days when he used to play volleyball after school with his teachers and walk home for lunch where his mom would have soup waiting for him on the table. When he was young, he loved to ride his bike to visit his grandpa and grandma, Gustaf and Maybelle Blomberg (1st generation Swedes). His grandpa was the manager at Holly Carburetor and had a big house on a hill in Franklin, Michigan where he would help him cut acres of lawn in his orchard. Richard took his family to visit “grandpa on the hill” every week while he was still living. He loved to tell the story about cutting that lawn and helping his grandpa out. He was proud of his grandpa with his successful career, fancy cars and 3 homes. He was Richard’s role model. Another person Richard looked up to was Maybelle’s cousin Iya, who was an athlete and worked her own farm into her 80s near Rockford, Illinois. She would visit him growing up and they would play sports together.
Like any young man growing up in Detroit, Richard got into cars and would cruise Woodward Avenue and race on the weekends. His car hobby followed him throughout his life and he loved to work on cars with his friends and his son. Patty likes to tell the story of how she married him for his 1960 red Chevy convertible. They met when they were 17 and 18 years old and eloped the next year.
They lived in Livonia, Michigan where he worked in the heating and cooling industry after some college training. They had a boat and would take them to Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron and the Detroit River. He also loved to ride a motorcycle and bowled on a league. He started working at Ford Motor Company National Parts Depot in 1968 and purchased a home on Hix Court in Livonia where they raised their family and lived for 30 years. They had RVs and loved to travel to Florida to visit his parents and grandparents and a big road trip out west. There are many great memories of the Hix Court neighbors who were involved in local politics. Richard was appointed to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals and did so for many years. At one of the summer gatherings, the neighbors decided to install underground sprinkler systems on the court and for most of the homes on the court. Richard and his friend Wes created a company called D&W Sprinkling (Dick & Wes) so they would be able to get an industry discount on the materials for this big undertaking. Richard could build, fix or create anything he put his mind to, he had a great gift. He was famous for his spicy chili and would be sure to make it whenever he had his friends over to watch Michigan beat Ohio State in football.
Richard moved quickly from being a parts picker to a supervisory position at Ford. He was one of 3 supervisors in charge of the maintenance for the largest auto parts warehouse in the country, Ford National Parts Distribution Center. He supervised skilled trades workers on the afternoon shift for most of his 30 year career. He was a master at planning for his future though and couldn’t wait to retire and start doing what he wanted. With his grandpa as a role model, they decided to build a summer cottage on Lake Huron in 1976 when they sold their GMC motorhome. Richard and Patty designed the cottage themselves and had a contractor rough in the shell. Every year when he got his bonus at the end of the year, they would spend it on the cottage. At first insulation, then electricity, then toilet, shower, drywall, paneling until finally when they retired it was finished.
Richard was a proud member of Grand River Baptist Church where he served on the Building and Grounds Committee. He not only kept the church maintained well but he maintained the pastor’s home and car and was always available to help shut ins or neighbors with household problems. He was a quiet Christian believing it was his duty to help people in need. Aside from his normal tithing, he donated money to many charities. He would also do things like buying tires or fixing someone’s car if he saw a single mom at the tire store or heard of someone in need. He loved to golf in the St. Mary’s Heart Fund fundraiser in Livonia and one year he won a car for closest to the pin. He got involved with Habitat for Humanity after he retired and helped build several homes in Oscoda Michigan from the ground up for families who needed homes. With his softball teammates, he walked to raise money for the Vision Walk in Arizona regularly.
Due to Richard and Patty’s diligence in saving and investing, they were able to retire at age 55. They went to Palm Springs for one winter and decided that was not their place. Soon after, they moved to Pebblecreek Retirement Community in Goodyear, Arizona where they spent winters. Richard was involved in the model train club, he worked the sound board at the clubhouse for church and many activities, he was in the computer club and golfed with friends. Influenced by his cousin Iya, who he reconnected with, his favorite activity was being in the Pebblecreek Softball League for over 20 years. He helped found the “Field of Dreams” and was involved in raising money for the giant flagpole and the scoreboard. He maintained the field in the beginning. In the late 1990s and 2000s, Richard played and coached a Senior Olympic Softball team and won medals for their age group. Although he had never played softball before retirement, he was strong and athletic so he was a natural. He could hit home runs over the fence. He would hang out at the field constantly since everyone knew how fast he was so he could be their runner if someone was injured or slow. Softball turned out to be his favorite thing in the world. His grandchildren loved to go watch him play and he inspired them to play sports. His fitness also inspired his daughter to try new sports in middle age. He talked to Iya several times a week and would tell her about all of his games that week and any other activities they had going on. He also met the greatest friends of his life at Pebblecreek through Softball. His family has never seen him smile so big as the day he got to throw out the first pitch as the hero of the club being the longest standing Pebblecreek Softball League player a few years ago. If there is softball in heaven, they just got a new manager. And if not, there will be soon.
Richard and Patty were very close to their daughter and her children since she was a single parent when they were small. They lived closeby and saw them often. They spent holidays and birthdays together and they would attend their school and sport events. Devan and Jillian had to write about someone who inspires them and they both chose their Grandpa. Jasper was also very close to him and learned how to cut the lawn which was one of grandpa’s favorite pastimes. They loved grandpa’s special recipe chocolate chip cookies, and “grandpa’s famous mac and cheese.”
He loved singing and had a beautiful voice. His favorites were the Oak Ridge Boys, Johnny Cash and gospel music. Every day around the house you would hear him singing, especially the bass line of the songs like “Elvira boom boom bop, boom boom bop bop mow mow.” He also played piano and organ.
Richard and Patty’s summers were spent at their cottage in East Tawas, Michigan. This was near where both of his grandparents had built cottages and his mother had met his father. One of his mother’s cousins also lived nearby, Jean and Chet Johnson were their “up north” family. When Richard and Patty’s children were small, Patty would stay there all summer and Richard would join them for 10 days at a time spacing out his many weeks of vacation. Once Michelle had children, they all spent their summers there from the time the grandchildren were born. They all have amazing memories of jetskiing, sailing, windsurfing, paddling, racing grandpa on the beach, looking for deer, catching frogs and going to Marion’s for ice cream. Richard would spend weeks getting ready for the kids to show up, staining the deck, getting all of the water toys out, fixing up the jetski, using the tractor to smooth out the beach, and buying garage sale bikes. Their son and his daughters would also visit them in the summer and Richard and Patty always enjoyed having the houseful of family. Richard was a worker, never sitting down until he would collapse in his chair at night watching The Weather Channel. Richard and Patty used to take his motorcycle out with their friends from church they called their “biker gang” and ride out in the country to a biker bar for Taco Tuesdays.
Richard was someone everyone could count on. He expressed his love by secretly washing, getting the oil changed and putting gas in your car or just being there to help in any way needed, even if you didn’t know you needed it. When his daughter needed to move or asked him to drive across the country to go to college, his response was “ok what time should I be ready and what size UHaul should I get?” Patty had some health issues after their retirement and he would wait on her and sit beside her bed no matter what it took. This was challenging when he was suffering from dementia and COVID hit but he was there, even if it meant sitting outside her window for a visit. In April 2021 when they could no longer get along on their own, they moved from Arizona to Colorado to be closer to Michelle and her family. It took some work to pack up and sneak him out to “go for a drive” for 800 miles. He loved that drive. He loved any drive. If you could show him some beautiful scenery, wow. He was amazed. He didn’t even notice how long it took, he talked about that drive for a long time and how he remembered being a kid when his parents drove out to Colorado. Richard and Patty lived in Clear Creek Commons senior apartments in downtown Golden Colorado for a year and a half where he would walk their dog, Rocky along the creek and he would go to the hardware to find projects to do. They had lots of fun times going to the grandkids sports games at Golden High School, attending happy hours, walking to the ice cream store, Woody’s Pizza dinners, going for scenic drives, hanging out at the car wash and looking at wildlife in the town or along the creek.
In October 2022, they moved to Gardens on Quail Assisted Living and Memory Care which the family told him was a country club with a train. He loved model trains and got to spend time watching the train in the courtyard, enjoying Dairy Queen treats and playing mini golf with his grandkids. He will be remembered for strength, being the boss, hard work, athleticism, generosity and love for his family. The family is grateful for the loving caregivers at the memory care as well as the Dignity Hospice professionals. Donations may be made in Richard’s memory to Pebblecreek Softball Association, Habitat for Humanity or the Alzheimer’s Association. Cards may be sent to Patty Blomberg, 6447 Quail Street #229, Arvada, CO 80004.
A Celebration of Life will be held at:
Gardens on Quail Chapel and online via Facebook
August 22, 2023 at 4pm (6pm Michigan, 3pm Arizona/California)
6447 Quail Street
Arvada, CO 80004