Richard Witt

richard witt

Richard J. Witt, 88, Fargo, passed away Tuesday, October 25 at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital, Baytown TX.

Richard was born in LaMoure, ND on February 19, 1923, the son of Elmer and Hildegard (Welu) Witt. He graduated from LaMoure High School in 1941.  He attended the College of St. Thomas, St Paul, MN.  Richard enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant as a navigator from the Hondo Navigation School.  He joined his crew in Lincoln, Nebraska and flew to the Gander Field, Newfoundland to the Azores, North Africa and on to Italy joining the 464th Bomb Group flying on B-24's.  In his 26th mission, he was shot down over Vienna, Austria October 17, 1944.  He was taken prisoner and was at Stalag Luft 3, Saigon, Poland.  He was transferred with other prisoners in the midst of a blizzard on January 27, 1945 marching approximately 80 miles to a railroad marshalling yard where he was put in railroad cars jammed in so hardly they could find a place to occupy.  After many harrowing hours under bombardment and no food they finally came to Stalag Luft 7.  He was freed by Patton's tank troops on April 29, 1945.  He was discharged from Army Air Corps as 1st Lieutenant.  He went back to college at the College of St. Thomas and after taking several courses at the University of Minnesota he graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Business in 1947.

He married Colleen G. Baertsch from Marion, ND on August 24, 1946 in the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in LaMoure, ND.  He began working for the Internal Revenue Service upon graduation.  In 1950 he joined the G. R. Conoboy Certified Public Accounting firm working there until 1958.  From then until he retired in 1988 he was with Kaye's Printing, where he also served as president from 1978 to 1988.

Richard's community involvement included a membership in the Fargo-Moorhead Cosmopolitan Club and he was involved in many charitable functions raising money for Diabetes, Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, YWCA, and others; Ambassador's Barber Shop Chorus, FM Advertising Club, Moorhead County Club, AARP, Vita Income Tax Preparation and various others.

He was an active member of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, was on the parish finance council, was a member of the Knights of Columbus 3rd & 4th Degree, active in choral and choir groups from high school, college and the churches he attended, member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks Club, and Ex-Prisoners of War.

Most important to Richard were his faith, family and friends.  He enjoyed playing golf, hunting, fishing, sports and his many trips to Canada, also traveling to Europe and Mexico.  He & Colleen spent winters in Mesa, AZ since 1988.

Richard is survived by his wife of 65 years, Colleen; one son, Jonathan (Linda) of Cincinnati, OH; two daughters, Mary Michelle (Billy) Brewer, Baytown, TX; Teresa Marie Witt, Burlington, VT; seven grandchildren; Lorraine (Frank) Witt Antao, Milwaukee, WI, Amy Witt, Cincinnati, OH, Hillary Brewer, Margaret Brewer, Catherine Brewer, Baytown, TX, Andrew and Stewart Hill, Burlington, VT; and one great grandson, Samuel.  He is also survived by a sister, Lorraine Olson, Oakland, CA.

In lieu of flowers memorial may be sent to the American Red Cross.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Fargo ND
    I illustrated 4 children’s books from 1980 to 83 (as the artist LALO). Kaye’s did the printing. Dick and Colleen were on the board of directors of the company that published them. I have a vivid recollection of the two of them. I wish I had known of his passing. I would’ve liked to have attended the service. Colleen gave my mom Marcy a beautifully embroidered table cloth.

  2. Boise IDI remember while growing up Richard and my grandfather who were dear friends “although from the colorful conversations they had with one another (politics especially) it was hard to tell at times” 🙂 – the Witt’s have always felt like an extension to our family – Tersa used to baby sit me when I was young, and Richard’s wonderful Irish Setter “Clancy” was very tolerant of a little boy wanting to ride him like a small pony.

    My last conversations I had with Richard was last October during my cousin’s wedding. He had shared with us WWII stories the time he had served his capture etc. – I was just in awe and could not imagine the fear he must have felt during that time and his bravery.

    Richard will forever live in my memories

    Our sincerest condolences go out to the Witt family…

    Thad, Sarah, Leah, Gabe and Zander Cunningham

  3. El Cerrito CAI was sad to hear of Richard’s passing. He was such a lively man, with so many talents, and deep devotion to his family.

    My heartfelt sympathy to his whole family, my thoughts are with you in this difficult time.

    With Love, Karel.

  4. Dick was a great person and was one of the first people I got to meet when I became a member of the FM Cosmopolitan Club. A real genuine man. You will be missed.

  5. Oakland CAI am so sorry for your loss. Richard truly was one of the “greatest generation” to whom we owe our liberty. And I will always remember the great games of “Hand and Foot” we used to play with Richard when he and Colleen visited Lorraine for Thanksgiving. He was such fun to beat!

    Warmest regards,

    Joan Herrington

  6. Alexandria Minnesota
    Dear Mrs, Witt, Teresa, and family,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. May your wonderful memories of the time spent with your husband and dad bring you comfort in the days ahead. Please share my contact information with Teresa.

  7. Pelican Rapids MN
    29 years ago, Dick hired me, a young woman without a degree, for a sales position in a male dominated industry. On pure faith, he gave me a chance & the foundation of a meaningful career. Since Kaye’s Printing, I’ve thought of him often. He was a hero in many ways. I believe he was one of the last great American CEO’s because his philosophy was to hire good people, not the cheapest labor. He was customer driven not bottom line driven. He preached quality not quantity & worked along side his employees, knew how to motivate & inspire them, mentored them & earned their respect. He made his staff feel valued, (even when he thought at times there was too much “horsing around”). His office was among everyone’s — a cubicle, no larger than the rest. He was satisfied with profits that helped the “company” grow, not just his own pockets. We all benefited from his leadership. I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever respected more than Dick Witt. With deep sympathy, Sandy Ostbye

  8. Meridian idahoJon, Mary Michelle and Tersa, my sincere sympathy. Your parents meant a lot to our family. I always looked up to Richard and appreciated all he did for me while I was in college. Since Dad died, visiting with Richard always brought back memories and some great laughs. I wish I could go back for the funeral and to see you guys again(you taught me the joy of smoked oyster) but I have to be in Seattle. He will be missed but not forgotten

  9. Mesa AZ
    Dear Witt Family,
    You are all in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time. Many happy memories here in Arizona since 1988. We cherish the good times.
    Our love, Rogeer & JoAnn

  10. Fergus Falls MN
    My sincere sympathy to Jon and family in the passing of your father. May all the great memories carry through this time. Dennis

  11. West Fargo ND
    My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. So sorry I won’t be at the funeral and prayer service. I am going to AZ
    Friday night until Monday night

  12. Watertown SDSending sympathy to you all….
    from Mary (Markey) and Everett Johnson

    Please give Mary Michelle my info…. we used to email, but lost track of her a while ago!

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