At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Blandford Nature Center
1715 Hillburn Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Dick volunteered at Blandford for many years and helped there at Sugarbush.
Reubens Room Cat Rescue
PO BOX 140201
Grand Rapids, MI 49514
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Richard Shively lived a life of purpose while holding the people he treasured close to his heart. He was a hard working man of great character who was willing to do whatever he could to help others. A devoted family man, Dick took his roles as a husband and father to heart, but he truly blossomed as a grandfather and great-grandfather. Life was not without times of trial for him, but his strength and resilience were an inspiration to all who were near. Although he will be deeply missed, Dick leaves behind a timeless legacy this his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
At the end of WWI in 1918, America was recognized as a world leader for the first time and poised for greatness. This victory ushered in the vibrant days of the Roaring Twenties when we welcomed several noteworthy advancements such as radios, washing machines, and motion pictures in both color and sound. It was just as this decade was dawning that Malvern and Ruth (Hutslar) Shively were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Richard Lee on December 11, 1920, in Mansfield, Ohio. He was the youngest of three in his family, joined in the Shively clan by his sisters, Wilma and Peggy. His father’s work brought them to Grand Rapids during Dick’s elementary years. They settled into a home on Jeanette Street near Leonard on the Northwest side of the city. The Shively family attended Wallin Congregational Church, and Dick attended local schools. He went on to graduate from Union High School in 1938. Dick earned a deferment from the draft during WWII and attended college at Grand Rapids University, earning his pharmacist degree.
Not to be forgotten during these years was Dick’s introduction to the young woman who would transform his life forever. Her name was Helen Sokup, and they met at church. They began dating and soon found themselves deeply in love. Upon graduating, Dick was drafted into the United States Army and served in Gulf Port, Mississippi. While on a leave, he proposed to Helen, and then spent an hour trying to convince a judge to waive the waiting period for the marriage license, which he eventually did. The sweethearts were married on March 7, 1944, and after a short honeymoon Helen moved to Mississippi with Dick. They soon discovered that they would become parents, and the pregnant Helen returned to Grand Rapids where she gave birth to their son, Gary. Dick soon joined the family there, and together he and Helen were blessed with the births of two more children in the coming years, Shelly and Robin.
Dick found work as a pharmacist, working for Medical Arts Pharmacy in East Grand Rapids. There, he was also involved in the East Grand Rapids Rotary Club and joined the Masonic Lodge. Later in his career Dick worked in the pharmacy at Butterworth Hospital until he retired. Even during his retirement, Dick stayed on there part-time for a bit. Since he was the provider, Helen took care of running the household on a day to day basis in their home on Maplerow where he and Helen lived for nearly 65 years. For the most part Dick was quiet, but the kids knew that if he did speak up, they had crossed the line!
A man of faith, Dick and Helen were active and busy members at Wallin Congregational throughout their marriage. Dick sang in the choir and served as a deacon. Much of their social life revolved around church activities and friends from church. Dick was never overbearing when it came to his faith, rather, his Christian beliefs were exemplified through his actions as he was always willing to help others.
When not working, Dick was one to keep busy. He enjoyed puttering and could often be found doing some woodworking, repairing and improving things around the house, and also making some bird feeders and squirrel feeders. Dick also liked working on the family cars. His family was so used to Dick being able to take on a variety of things that when something broke, they just told him to " goo it daddy,” which meant to fix it. This was a phrase that stuck even as his kids grew older. Every Fourth of July and Labor Day, the family camped at Pentwater with a group from church, and for two weeks in the summer they frequently camped in the Upper Peninsula. During those trips they often visited his friend from the Army as well. Dick also took part in trap and skeet shooting at the West Walker Sportsmans Club during his younger years. In later years, Dick was more content to watch television, although he was active with the Walker Senior Center with whom he and Helen went on many bus trip. Dick also volunteered at Blandford Nature Center, during Sugarbush, and making maple syrup as well as showing kids how it was made. He always loved his wife’s butterscotch pie, and he was always in favor of any kind of dessert.
It was easy to see that Dick loved his grandchildren. He looked forward to just seeing them and was supportive of them in everything they did. Dick attended many of their sports games and recitals, and he almost always had his video camera recording their events as well. He took them camping at Woods and Waters, and he loved to dress up as Santa and surprise them. Dick later became a great-grandfather and enjoyed their visits. His great-grandchildren affectionately called him Grandpa Great. There were hard times during his later years as well as both he and Helen were deeply saddened with the death of their son Gary in 2000. Dick and Helen mourned his loss differently, and there were some difficult years. After Helen’s death in 2012, he moved to Villa Maria where he loved bowling on the Wii. During his sunset years Dick also enjoyed the companionship of his cat, Cody.
Calm and collected with a quick wit and dry sense of humor, Richard Shively was a great man who made a significant impact in the lives of others. Talkative and social outside of the home, he was willing to do whatever he could for others. Deeply loved, Dick will never be forgotten.
Richard Lee Shively passed away August 5, 2016. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen; son, Gary Shively; and sisters Wilma Darling and Peggy Yost. Dick is survived by his daughters Shelly and Bob Squires, Robin and Ron Kobel; grandchildren, Richard N. and Kirsten Shively, Timothy Squires, Robert and Erin Kobel, Ryan and Melissa Kobel, Rebecca and David Rokos; great-grandchildren, Anna Bauer, Alexis DeGroot, Brendan Shively, Cassandra DeGroot, Drew Shively, Bryce Kobel, Tylee Squires, Victoria DeGroot, Jordon Rokos, Braydon Rokos, Averie Kobel, Connor Rokos; as well as several nieces and nephews, and his longtime feline companion Cody. Dick served in the Army during WW II as a pharmacist and then spent many years at Medical Arts Pharmacy before retiring from Butterworth Hospital. The service to remember and celebrate Dick's life will be held on Saturday, August 13 at 2:30 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, with Rev. Susan Sparta officiating. Burial in Rosedale Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet his family at the funeral home from 1 PM until the service begins. Contributions in his memory may be made to either Blandford Nature Center or Reubens Room Cat Rescue. Please visit Dick's personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can learn more about his life, share a favorite memory, and sign the guestbook.