Richard Lorenz Janssen was born Jan. 28, 1946, in Hawarden, the son of Lorenz and Bernice (Van Wyhe) Janssen. Rich was raised on the family farm in South Dakota near Hawarden, and graduated from West Sioux High School in 1964. He attended the University of South Dakota (USD) where he received his teaching degree in 1968.
Rich was united in marriage with Linda Kratochvil on Aug. 6, 1967 at First Baptist Church in Hawarden. Rich and Linda moved to Le Mars in 1968 when Rich accepted a teaching position in the Le Mars Community School District, where he taught 5th grade for nine years at Franklin and Kluckhohn Elementary Schools. Rich earned his masters degree in education administration from USD in 1971.
Rich began his real estate career in 1973. He became a full time realtor in 1977 when he retired from teaching. In 1984 Rich established Janssen Real Estate. Under his leadership, Janssen Real Estate has served hundreds of people in the community. Starting in 1988, Rich was also involved in the real estate development of the southern area of LeMars.
Rich was very active in the community. Since 1968 he and Linda have been members of Grace Lutheran Church, where he served as president of the congregation several times in the past four decades. Rich coached softball and baseball, and was a member of the Le Mars Little League board of directors. He was also an active member of Sertoma Club and the Plymouth County Board of Realtors.
Rich enjoyed walking, golfing, and cheering for the Hawkeyes, Bears, and Cubs. Anyone who met Rich was not a stranger for long, and he was well-known for his quick wit and humor. One of Rich's greatest joys in life was his family. He was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, son, and brother. He was a teacher, mentor, and friend to many. Rich was our hero, and will truly be missed.
Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Linda, of Le Mars; two children, Amy and her husband Pat Smith and their children Madison, Sam, and Charlie of West Des Moines, and Scott and his wife Jennifer Janssen and their children Adelyn and Benjamin of Mansfield, Texas; his father, Lorenz Janssen of Hawarden; a brother and sister-in-law, Marlin and Barb Janssen of Hawarden; a sister and brother-in-law, Janet and Brad Hanson of Gillette, Wyo.; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Mac and Arlene Kratochvil of Alcester, S.D.; a sister-in-law and brother-in-law Lorna and Kelly Paul of Ashtabula, Ohio; four nieces and nephews, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Rich was preceded in death by his mother, Bernice (Van Wyhe) Janssen and his granddaughter, Brooklyn Marie Janssen.
Funeral services were at 10:30 a.m. today (Monday) at Grace Lutheran Church in Le Mars with the Rev. Larry Fett officiating. Internment was in Memorial Cemetery, Le Mars. Visitation with the family present was after 3 p.m. Sunday at Grace Lutheran Church (1430 Seventh Ave. S.E.) with a 5 p.m. prayer service. Funeral arrangements were with the Carlsen Funeral Home of Le Mars.
Pallbearers were Clark Goodchild, Doug Heidebrink, David Janssen, Paul Janssen, Kerry Kircher, and Dennis Van Roekel. Honorary pallbearers were Larry Conger, Jim Flaherty, Dave Heeren, Bob Lang, Al Liston, Jerry Meister, Morris Peterson, Kent Schwiesow, Mark Vander Tuig, and Stephen Vander Tuig.