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Richard Dalen “Dick” Bottorff

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Richard Dalen “Dick” Bottorff

Birth
Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana, USA
Death
3 Aug 2021 (aged 90)
Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan, USA
Burial
Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana, USA Add to Map
Memorial ID
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After a brief illness, Richard Dale Bottorff, 90, of Benton Harbor, Mich., died peacefully on Aug. 3, 2021, surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren.

"Dick" was born on Sept. 18, 1930, in Mishawaka, Ind., to the late Gladys McClurg Bottorff and Ralph Bottorff, of Mishawaka. Ralph and Gladys were two Marshall County, Indiana farm kids, who moved to the "big city" and met while working at the Mishawaka Rubber and Woolen Manufacturing Company (Ball Band). Dick and his brother Jerry Bottorff (1940-2013) attended Beiger Elementary & Junior High School and Mishawaka High School, where Dick played freshman basketball and graduated in 1948.
After serving in the United States Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Cabot (CVL-28), he worked at Ball Band and later worked on the assembly line at the Studebaker Automobile factory in South Bend. In their spare time together, he and his dad also built two family homes in Mishawaka.

He graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1953 and received his master's degree there in 1962. He taught U.S. history at Niles High School (Mich.) from 1953-56. From 1956-1994 he taught history, government, sociology, psychology and world religions at Mishawaka High School. He taught sociology at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor from 1998-2001.

In 1960 Dick married Rebecca Hurst (1940-1969). They had two children, James Richard (1960) and Laura Elizabeth (1962).

As a dedicated civil rights activist for six decades, he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a 1966 fair housing demonstration in Chicago. In 1967, he received a patent on his invention called "Port-a-Court," the world's first portable, free standing, adjustable basketball goal. The goal sold more than two hundred thousand units over the next decade, for a time being sold in the Sears catalogue and endorsed by NBA hall-of-famer Pete Maravich.

In 1970 he married Sheila Powell Schulz (also a Mishawaka teacher) and adopted her son Jeffery Todd (1963-2010). Their son David William was born in 1975.

The family traveled extensively in the summers, visiting 48 states and some of Europe, with Dick making a solo trip to Japan and China in 1987. In the summer of 1970, they embarked on an epic 12,000-mile, three-month family vacation in a travel trailer through 14 U.S. western states, six Mexican states, and five Canadian provinces. Dick and Sheila were also avid sports fans, attending Notre Dame football bowl games and Indiana NCAA basketball tournament games. Dick made the trip for Indiana's only appearance in the Rose Bowl in 1968. Dick and Sheila loyally followed Mishawaka High School athletics, Dick as a student, and both as teachers and in their retirement, with Dick serving as the public address announcer for Mishawaka boys' basketball from 1959-75.

In addition to educating three generations of Mishawakans, Dick took great pride in his four children's academic achievements, all four becoming second generation college graduates (David – Harvard & UChicago; Jeff – Northwestern; Laura – Indiana; and Jim – Oregon).

After his retirement, Dick and Sheila moved to a home overlooking Lake Michigan, spending their winters in Orange Beach, Ala., where they celebrated their 50th anniversary with their children on Feb. 14, 2020. He was a lifelong Democrat and attended the Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Dick was known by his family and his many friends — first and foremost — as a kind, compassionate humanitarian.

Dick is survived by his wife Sheila of Benton Harbor, and his children James (Laura) Bottorff of Chicago, Ill.; Laura Preston of Mishawaka; and David (Maria) Bottorff of Oak Park, Ill. His surviving grandchildren are Robert Anthony Preston of Holland, Mich.; Alexandra Preston of Benton Harbor, Mich., Jacob Bottorff of Oak Park, Ill., Margaret (Will) Nagai-Singer of Blacksburg, Va., and Katherine Nagai of Valparaiso, Ind. He is also survived by three great-grandchildren, Sophia Preston of Holland, Mich., and Zebb and Axel Preston of Benton Harbor, Mich.

Visitation with the family will be held on Friday, Aug. 6, from 4-7 p.m. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, Aug 7 at 10:30 a.m., both at Palmer Funeral Home - Welsheimer Chapel - North, 17033 Cleveland Rd., South Bend, Ind. Burial will immediately follow at St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of Richard Bottorff to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee at uusc.org. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
After a brief illness, Richard Dale Bottorff, 90, of Benton Harbor, Mich., died peacefully on Aug. 3, 2021, surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren.

"Dick" was born on Sept. 18, 1930, in Mishawaka, Ind., to the late Gladys McClurg Bottorff and Ralph Bottorff, of Mishawaka. Ralph and Gladys were two Marshall County, Indiana farm kids, who moved to the "big city" and met while working at the Mishawaka Rubber and Woolen Manufacturing Company (Ball Band). Dick and his brother Jerry Bottorff (1940-2013) attended Beiger Elementary & Junior High School and Mishawaka High School, where Dick played freshman basketball and graduated in 1948.
After serving in the United States Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Cabot (CVL-28), he worked at Ball Band and later worked on the assembly line at the Studebaker Automobile factory in South Bend. In their spare time together, he and his dad also built two family homes in Mishawaka.

He graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1953 and received his master's degree there in 1962. He taught U.S. history at Niles High School (Mich.) from 1953-56. From 1956-1994 he taught history, government, sociology, psychology and world religions at Mishawaka High School. He taught sociology at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor from 1998-2001.

In 1960 Dick married Rebecca Hurst (1940-1969). They had two children, James Richard (1960) and Laura Elizabeth (1962).

As a dedicated civil rights activist for six decades, he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a 1966 fair housing demonstration in Chicago. In 1967, he received a patent on his invention called "Port-a-Court," the world's first portable, free standing, adjustable basketball goal. The goal sold more than two hundred thousand units over the next decade, for a time being sold in the Sears catalogue and endorsed by NBA hall-of-famer Pete Maravich.

In 1970 he married Sheila Powell Schulz (also a Mishawaka teacher) and adopted her son Jeffery Todd (1963-2010). Their son David William was born in 1975.

The family traveled extensively in the summers, visiting 48 states and some of Europe, with Dick making a solo trip to Japan and China in 1987. In the summer of 1970, they embarked on an epic 12,000-mile, three-month family vacation in a travel trailer through 14 U.S. western states, six Mexican states, and five Canadian provinces. Dick and Sheila were also avid sports fans, attending Notre Dame football bowl games and Indiana NCAA basketball tournament games. Dick made the trip for Indiana's only appearance in the Rose Bowl in 1968. Dick and Sheila loyally followed Mishawaka High School athletics, Dick as a student, and both as teachers and in their retirement, with Dick serving as the public address announcer for Mishawaka boys' basketball from 1959-75.

In addition to educating three generations of Mishawakans, Dick took great pride in his four children's academic achievements, all four becoming second generation college graduates (David – Harvard & UChicago; Jeff – Northwestern; Laura – Indiana; and Jim – Oregon).

After his retirement, Dick and Sheila moved to a home overlooking Lake Michigan, spending their winters in Orange Beach, Ala., where they celebrated their 50th anniversary with their children on Feb. 14, 2020. He was a lifelong Democrat and attended the Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Dick was known by his family and his many friends — first and foremost — as a kind, compassionate humanitarian.

Dick is survived by his wife Sheila of Benton Harbor, and his children James (Laura) Bottorff of Chicago, Ill.; Laura Preston of Mishawaka; and David (Maria) Bottorff of Oak Park, Ill. His surviving grandchildren are Robert Anthony Preston of Holland, Mich.; Alexandra Preston of Benton Harbor, Mich., Jacob Bottorff of Oak Park, Ill., Margaret (Will) Nagai-Singer of Blacksburg, Va., and Katherine Nagai of Valparaiso, Ind. He is also survived by three great-grandchildren, Sophia Preston of Holland, Mich., and Zebb and Axel Preston of Benton Harbor, Mich.

Visitation with the family will be held on Friday, Aug. 6, from 4-7 p.m. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, Aug 7 at 10:30 a.m., both at Palmer Funeral Home - Welsheimer Chapel - North, 17033 Cleveland Rd., South Bend, Ind. Burial will immediately follow at St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of Richard Bottorff to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee at uusc.org. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.


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  • Created by: Byron
  • Added: Aug 4, 2021
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/230330237/richard_dalen-bottorff: accessed ), memorial page for Richard Dalen “Dick” Bottorff (18 Sep 1930–3 Aug 2021), Find a Grave Memorial ID 230330237, citing Saint Joseph Valley Memorial Park, Mishawaka, St. Joseph County, Indiana, USA; Maintained by Byron (contributor 48700184).