Richard Austin Vande Sande, 83, of Burlington, died Oct. 2, 2017. Loving husband of Judy for 57 wonderful years, Richard passed away after enjoying what he recently proclaimed has been a full life, which began July 30, 1934. He is also survived by their three children, Heidi (Andrew) Paquette of Muskego, Matthew (Lynn) Vande Sande of Middleton, and Heather (Greg) Johnson of Cedarburg; and his sister-in-law, Marcella Vande Sande, of Muskego. He is further survived by seven grandchildren, Joseph, Joshua and Julia Paquette, Megan and David Vande Sande, and Zoe and Maya Johnson.

Richard graduated from Green Bay West High School in 1952. An early accomplishment of his was attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. His Scoutmaster, John Walters, was a strong influence, as his father passed away when Richard was 12. He continued his involvement in Boy Scouts throughout his life. He achieved the rank of Quartermaster in Sea Scouts, where he learned how to tie a multitude of various knots, which he used and tried to teach others throughout his life. As an adult, he became Scoutmaster of Troops 373 and 303 in Burlington. In 1981, he was awarded the Silver Beaver Award, the highest Boy Scout award given to a volunteer.

A second lifelong interest of Richard’s began at age 12 when he joined the Order of DeMolay. This led to his involvement in Freemasonry as an adult. He was the Worshipful Master of the Masonic Lodges in Burlington and Lake Geneva. He joined both Shriners International and the National Sojourners. He served as District Deputy and Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Wisconsin, F. and A.M. and also on the Wisconsin Masonic Foundation Board.

Richard’s childhood interest in boats led him to join the United States Coast Guard after high school. Honorably discharged because of an injury, he joined the United States Merchant Marine, where he worked his way up in the Engine Department to Second Engineer. He sailed the Great Lakes on iron ore boats for seven years. Knowing that after he was married, he would not want to continue his career “on the boats,” as he would say, his last tour was a trip he always wanted to complete—a saltwater run to the Mediterranean Sea. He returned from this memorable venture just weeks before his wedding day on May 21, 1960.

Richard and Judy began their married life in Green Bay, where they became Green Bay Packer season ticket holders and lived within walking distance to Lambeau Field. In 1966, they moved to Burlington when Richard took a job as chief electrician at a new manufacturer, Foster-Forbes Glass Company.

Richard’s involvement in civic life was extensive. He served as a city alderman and the chairman of the Burlington Water Commission. He was a volunteer firefighter on the City of Burlington Fire Department from 1969 to 1996. A member of Hose Company 2, he rose through the ranks and served as the volunteer fire chief from 1987 to 1993. He was instrumental in the purchase of the department’s first aerial ladder truck in 1974. He also was an adjunct Fire Instructor for Gateway Technical College. At the time of his retirement, in addition to teaching, he was also the assistant to the dean of Fire Service.

Richard was a member of the Burlington United Methodist Church, where he served on many administrative committees over the years. He and Judy raised their three children in the faith, and all three were confirmed members of the church. He led by example, and his family continues in his footsteps of servant leadership and teaching. In 1981, after being nominated by his children, Richard was named “Father of the Year” in the Working Man category by the National Father’s Day Committee in New York City.

Richard had various interests. A voracious reader, Richard loaded his Nook with nearly every book written about the Civil War. He enjoyed talking with everyone about this era in American history. He was an accomplished woodworker. He built numerous toy chests, which he gave to all of his grandchildren, as well as to charity auctions. He also crafted wooden ballpoint pens, which he gave to many, many people.

Richard enjoyed traveling with his family. After their first international trip in 2000 to Germany, Belgium and his homeland of the Netherlands, he and Judy took several trips to Europe. His last trip, in 2015, was to France, Luxembourg and Belgium, where he saw the sights of Normandy and Bastogne, Belgium.

Richard is preceded in death by his parents, Walter Christian and Ethel Vande Sande; and his brother, Walter Vande Sande.

The Vande Sande family would like to thank Dr. Randall Schmidt, Dr. Peter Massart, the staff at Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington, and the staff at Aurora VNA Zilber Family Hospice in Wauwatosa for their loving care.

He will be affectionately remembered by his family, friends and Masonic brothers. He will be missed by his buddy, lap warmer, and loyal granddog, Finn Johnson. May God grant Richard peace and welcome him into His loving arms.

Visitation will be held Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Schuette-Daniels Funeral Home. Friends and family are invited to attend the Masonic Memorial Service, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. A Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m. at Burlington United Methodist Church. Interment will follow at Wilmot Cemetery.

Memorial tributes may be made to Burlington United Methodist Church, Shriners International or Aurora VNA Zilber Family Hospice.

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