Dick Schliewe is the embodiment of the Toby Keith song ‘Made In America’. He is a father and grandfather, and he grew up on a Ixonia dairy farm. He remembers his mother taking him to school on horseback in the snow.
A proud Air Force Veteran, Dick has four years of service starting as a tuba player in the Air Force Band and later moving into medical administration. He served at Lackland Air Force Base, Kelly Air Force Base, Japan, and Chanute Field in Illinois.
Dick has been an active member of the Oconomowoc and Stone Bank Lions Club for 38 years. He has served the Lions as a district governor, as a member of the Wisconsin Lions Foundation Board and is currently the secretary/treasurer of the Stone Bank Lions Club. The Stone Bank Club is well known for organizing the Stone Bank Fourth of July parade, and Dick shared that the 2020 parade will feature the University of Wisconsin marching band.
Dick played with Oconomowoc American Legion Band for 40 years, not only in Oconomowoc, but concerts and parades all over the country, as well as Canada. He had lots of fun trips with the group, including playing at the 1959 Rose Bowl Parade, and at Disneyland.
Dick started his career working for Retail Credit Company, now Equifax, doing credit investigations for employee claims and insurance credit. Then he transitioned into the real estate business, working as a city assessor in Lake Mills, Beaver Dam and Oconomowoc, along with selling real estate. He wound up as a Housing and Urban Development appraiser, retiring from there in 2005. While eating a Culver’s cone at 10am, Dick pulled his planner from his pocket, on the front of which is printed “I do what I want, all day, every day.”
In addition to his work and club activities, Dick had side gigs tending bar at Pepino’s, Lario’s and Maury’s House of Prime.
Full of stories, Dick spoke effusively during our meeting about being a part of the Honor Flight from Milwaukee to Washington, DC this past November. “It was quite a thrill, quite a day. It was awesome. The Honor Flight folks are very efficient and organized, and they do a great job.”
One of the highlights of the Honor Flight trip was witnessing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. “It was most impressive. I can’t explain the precision, but everything is done in 21 seconds and 21 steps. The whole routine is based on the number 21, based on the 21 gun salute. Part of the routine involves the soldier’s scraping their cleats on the ground, which is a salute to veterans. Complete silence is expected. Guards who serve in this duty live in isolation, and can never partake in smoking or drinking for life.”
Dick continued, “When we arrived in Milwaukee, there were Military Honor Guards from all branches of service lined up both sides along walkways for at least 100 feet, as well as police officers, firemen, Boy Scouts. WISN Channel 12 was there.”
“Also, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brent Suter did the mail call on the plane. We had a police escort in DC from the airport to the memorial, and traffic was stopped for us as we came through town. One police officer actually used their car to push a wayward driver off of the roadway to make way for us!”
We’d like to thank Dick for chatting with us about his life and memories in Lake Country.
Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Lake Country, and what do you love there?
A. “The Iron Ridge Inn has barbecue ribs that are to die for. On Tuesday nights, they have an excellent buffet with all you can eat barbecue ribs, prime rib and chicken.”
Q. How long have you lived or worked in Lake Country?
A. “I was born and raised on an Ixonia dairy farm, and have lived in Lake Mills, Fort Atkinson and Beaver Dam. I’ve lived in Oconomowoc since the ‘80’s.”
Q. Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Lake Country?
A. “Dirk Debbink, it’s interesting to listen to his life experiences.”
Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A. “One thing I’d like to do in my life is cruise through the South Pacific and see the different islands.”
Q. What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
“I enjoy all the old westerns, as well as musicals. ‘The Music Man’ with Robert Preston and Julie Andrews is one of my favorites. When I was in the service, I played two characters in ‘Guys and Dolls’ when it was performed at the Kelly Air Force Base.”
Q. What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A.”Have respect for everybody else, behave yourself, don’t be a joker and pay attention.”
Q. What is your favorite music/three artists you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A. “Easy listening, old time polka, Boston Pops. Good concert music. The ear busting music popular today is not my style.”
Q. What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Lake Country?
A. “Koeppler’s Gas Station in Ixonia, it was a filling station, auto repair and beer bar. You could get a shorty Rhinelander for a quarter a bottle.”
Q. Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Lake Country would you have lunch?
A. “Mariska Hargitay. I enjoy and admire her work on ‘Law & Order’. I’d take Mariska to dine at Iron Ridge Inn.”
Q. What is your favorite thing or something unique about Lake Country?
A. “The variety found of the communities, there are a lot of things to see and do in a small area.”
Q. What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word home?
A. “Quiet, comfortable and do what I please, when I please.”
Q. If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A. “Mariska Hargitay.”
The Faces of Lake Country is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured, please click the button below.