Richard (Merlin) Wilcox

Richard (Merlin) Wilcox, a man whose life radiated kindness, faith, and service, passed away at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois on September 29, 2023, at the age of 78. Born in Portage, Wisconsin on March 14, 1945, to Mildred (nee Scholes) and Merlin Wilcox, his life was a testament to the power of community, family, and selfless service. Richard is survived by his sister Kay (Wilcox) Krueger, sister-in-law Gayle Ann Wilcox, niece Dr. Jane Wilcox (Erik Lindberg), nephew Mark (Sarah) Wilcox and great nieces and nephews Erikson Grey (Lindberg), Annika (Lindberg), Bo (Wilcox), Greta (Wilcox), Brock (Wilcox), and close family friends Mark and Davida Considine and Mary Wilcox. Richard is preceded in death by his parents and brother Kenneth Wilcox. 

Richard's passing is a profound loss for all who knew him; however, his spirit and values will continue to inspire us all. In his youth, Richard was an enthusiastic athlete, often found water skiing on John Muir Lake or playing volleyball, fast and slow-pitch softball. His love of community and sports extended into his later years, with many cherished memories made at the Portage Curling Club. Richard was a dedicated veteran, having served 15 months in Vietnam. He claimed to never understand exactly how or why he was awarded a Bronze Star for his service, saying “I think everyone of us who served ought to be awarded one for their bravery,” a true testament to his humility and service to others. After Vietnam, Richard came home to help his father run the family farm and he subsequently dedicated his life to family and farming. He enjoyed gardening, mechanical and wood working, reading historical fiction and studying the Bible. A true servant, he donated 20 gallons of blood over the course of his lifetime to the American Red Cross.

Richard's respect and appreciation for agriculture were deeply rooted and reflected in the way he tenderly farmed his family's fifth-generation land. His connection to the land, much like his commitment to his friends and neighbors, was a tribute to his heritage and the values instilled in him by his parents. Richard's warm smile and positive attitude will be profoundly missed. He had an uncanny ability to see the best in every situation, and his optimism was truly contagious. Richard was a shining light, always ready to lend a hand or offer a word of encouragement to anyone in need.

An inurnment service will occur at 11am on Sunday, October 22nd, at North Marcellon Cemetery, Pardeeville, Wisconsin.  As we gather to say our goodbyes, we will remember Richard not just for his service and dedication to family, but for the joy, warmth, and positivity he brought into our lives. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Richard's memory to charities which he supported (e.g. Doctors Without Borders, American Red Cross, Feed the Children). This gesture aligns with Richard's lifelong commitment to service and community. As we mourn Richard’s passing, we also celebrate his life, and his unwavering belief in the goodness of people. His legacy of compassion will continue to inspire all who knew him and serve as a guiding light in the days to come

Pflanz Mendrala Funeral Home in Portage is assisting the family.