Richard P. Liebfred, Sr., 84, of Mitchell, Indiana passed away Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at home.
Richard was born on December 11, 1935 in Norwood, NY, the last of 3 sons of Frank M. and Helen G. (Wheeler) Liebfred. Both William and James, his older brothers, had past previously.
With only a 7th grade education, he joined the Army at 20 and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia with the 126th Tank Company. He was trained to be a class A mechanic and did a tour in Germany where he was a Motor Officer assigned to the 5th Psychological Operations Battalion in Panzer Kaserne. He was Honorably Discharged in 1959 after a 3 year enlistment and returned home to Norwood, NY where he married Joanne Lalone of Carthage, NY, who predeceased him in 2012.
Their surviving children are Kathy Merrick of Mitchell, IN, Deborah Rubert and her husband Felix of Harker Heights, TX, Kelley Burkum and her husband Tim of Potsdam, NY, and Richard Liebfred, Jr. of Winthrop, NY. Also surviving are 8 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and 4 surviving step-children from a later marriage to Shirley Tuper, who also predeceased him.
In March of 1962, after 2 years of working in a bowling pin factory, Richard started work at the new GM plant in Massena, NY as a die cast machine operator. He would continue with that company and the UAW Labor Union across the country into Indiana in 1989 where he would later retire after nearly 40 years.
Richard had a good retirement. He and his girlfriend, Rosetta, had wonderful times together. He loved to hunt and fish, he loved mowing the yard, and he really enjoyed the company of his friends. He was an avid collector of boats and older vehicles, and was just as content to drive around on his Harley, or in his BMW, or in his 89 Suzuki Sidekick that he painted camo himself. Many days were spent tinkering away in the garage, keeping everything in good working order.
He loved dogs and children, and had a knack with motors enough that he even had contracts with Ski-doo and Yamaha to modify snowmobiles when he was younger – and even raced them, and won. He made many friends along his journey, and he will be deeply missed.
A memorial service will take place later in the spring in Norwood, NY, at Riverside Cemetery. Prior notification pertaining to the service will be provided when arrangements have been made.