Obituary: Richard Puffer, 90, of Ludington.

December 19, 2021

Richard Puffer

Obituary: Richard Puffer, 90, of Ludington.

Richard J. Puffer, 90, passed away peacefully at his home in Ludington on Monday, December 13, 2021, with his daughter, Lynn, by his side.   

He was born August 20, 1931, in Chicago, Illinois, to Noble and Lillian Puffer.  Richard and his older brother John grew up in Barrington, Illinois.

He met the love of his life, Alison Cope, at Illinois Wesleyan University and they married on June 28, 1952.  He then served in the Navy from 1953-56, stationed In Hawaii with Alison and daughter Lynn.  Son Mark was born in Hawaii.  Son Drew arrived two years later when the family moved back to the mainland. 

Richard’s career in education was impressive, including positions as assistant superintendent of Cook County Schools in Illinois, dean of Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and finally president of Black Hawk Community College in Moline, Illinois. He earned his PhD from Northwestern University. 

Richard and Alison were very active in the Quad Cities, where Alison taught kindergarten in East Moline and Silvis, Illinois.  Both participated with their children in Quad City Music Guild theater productions, and Richard was very involved in Rotary and Boy Scouts.  He was extremely proud to be a Rotarian and had tremendous respect for the organization. Another proud accomplishment was becoming an Eagle Scout. One of his fondest memories was attending the International Boy Scout Jamboree in France in 1946, when he was 15.  He took a troop ship with more than 1000 other scouts to attend.  

After retiring from Black Hawk College in 1986, he and Alison moved to Ludington, Michigan to enjoy their retirement, having spent a lifetime of summers there.

In Ludington, he continued to participate in Rotary. He traveled the world over with his wife, sang in several musical groups, and was very involved in People’s Unitarian Universalist Church. 

Even after Alison passed away on May 25, 2020, Richard continued to enjoy looking out over Hamlin Lake from his living room window, having a friendly dog to pet, and watching the birds and other critters come to get seeds and snacks from outdoor feeders on the deck.  He often said he’d had a full and happy life.  His children enjoy reminiscing about all the wonderful family camping adventures and scuba diving trips with Richard and Alison, and agree they were exceptionally generous and fun parents.

He leaves behind his three children and five grandchildren: Lynn (Steve) Israel with daughters Hayley and Laura, Mark Puffer with son Russell; and Drew (Susie) Puffer, with children Audra and Alex.

Many thanks to the wonderful caregivers at Village Services in Ludington who supported the family and provided loving care to both Richard and Alison during the past two years.  Special thanks to Dena Daughtery from Village Services and Becky Reamer, a family friend, both of whom took particularly wonderful care of Richard and Alison.

The family hopes to have a Celebration of Life for Richard and Alison some time next summer, probably at Ludington State Park, and most certainly involving House of Flavors ice cream. 

For those wishing to make a donation in memory of Richard, consider People’s Church, Ludington Rotary, Hamlin Lake Preservation Society or the Boy Scouts of America.

Richard requested cremation.  Arrangements were entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington. Anyone wanting to express a word of encouragement or share a memory/photo is encouraged to visit the funeral home website at: 

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