Richard “Dick” E. Bloemke, 91, Belmond, pharmacist and longtime owner of Bloemke Pharmacy, died Feb. 28, 2023 at the Kanawha Community Home. Services were held March 6 at Trinity Lutheran Church. Burial with military honors by the Belmond Honor Guard was at the Belmond Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to the Belmond Growth Alliance Main Street Fund, Trinity Lutheran Church or Belmond Ambulance Service.
Richard Edward, the son of Otto H. and Adelia (Runck) Bloemke, was born on the family farm in Redwood County, Minnesota (three miles north of Springfield). His faith journey began in childhood when he was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Springfield.
Dick attended country school until the middle of fifth grade. His family then moved into Springfield where his father had purchased the Allis-Chalmers farm implement business. He continued his education in the Springfield Schools where he was a drummer in the marching band. Dick graduated in 1949 and spent the next year working at the family business before beginning college. He enrolled at South Dakota State University School of Pharmacy in September 1950. At the completion of his fourth year, he married his high school sweetheart, Lucille M. Radtke, on May 16, 1954.
Dick and Lucille lived in San Antonio, TX where Dick attended ROTC Cadet Training at Fort Sam Houston for six weeks. Then they moved to St. James, MN where Dick completed a pharmacy apprenticeship for six months before returning to South Dakota State to finish his classroom requirements. He received his B.S. in Pharmacy on May 23, 1955 and was also commissioned as an officer in the Army Medical Service Corps. Dick then successfully took his pharmacy state board tests for South Dakota and Iowa and became a licensed registered pharmacist.
His first position was at the Denison Drug Store where he worked for less than three months. He was called to active duty, reporting to Fort Sam Houston on Sept. 3, 1955. After 12 weeks of Officer Orientation Training, he was assigned to permanent duty with the 582nd Medical Ambulance Company at Kornwestheim near Stutt-gart, Germany. Lucille and daughter Debra (age one) were able to accompany Dick to this assignment. He served as a platoon leader until the last two months when he was appointed Company Commander of the ambulance unit.
During the time in Germany, the family was able to enjoy extensive traveling in Europe. After completing his two-year obligation with the military, Dick returned to being a registered pharmacist at Denison where he was employed for the next 16 months.
Dick then took the position of pharmacist manager at Aageson Drug in Dows. After 18 months he moved his family to Belmond. He became partner with Dale Kessler on July 1, 1960 and added a prescription department. Kessler Sundry Store became Kessler Pharmacy. This partnership continued for over 16 years until Dick purchased the Kessler interest and the business became Bloemke Pharmacy.
In 1981, daughter Terri (Havens) joined the pharmacy as a new Drake University graduate and licensed registered pharmacist. A few years later, Dick and Terri purchased Kanawha Drug, which they operated together for 23 years. Son Brad joined the business in 2000. In July 2023, the family will celebrate 63 years of business in Belmond.
Through the many years, Dick developed countless friendships at the store’s coffee counter and soda fountain. Dick and Lucille’s children proudly continue to operate and serve the community of Belmond and surrounding areas and keeping Dick’s legacy alive.
Dick was never afraid to give himself, his energies, knowledge, philanthropy, and talents to his beloved community. He served on countless boards and in various roles and organizations both in his community, his church, and his profession. He was a visionary, always looking for ways to increase the vitality of Belmond and the surrounding areas. He had been a member of Trinity Lutheran Church since 1960, was a member and president of the Belmond Jaycees, a member and president of the Belmond Chamber of Commerce where he was involved for over 50 years, a member and president of the Belmond Lions Club, a BIDCO member, on the BIC board, and was named Boss of the Year by the Belmond Jaycees in 1997. He was an active contributor to the success of the Belmond Fourth of July celebrations. He was the founder and relished being in the leadership role of the Belmond Christmas Parade of Lights for over 30 years. He and Lucille started the project of hanging flowers on the downtown Belmond arcade, and it became a family project. Dick did many things behind the scenes and offered his support by donating his time, resources and other talents in ways that were often unseen. His children proudly speak of their dad as a man who loved to help provide opportunities! Dick supported many events, graduations and celebrations. He and Lucille attended countless soup suppers, fish fries, breakfasts and other fundraisers. They were cheerleaders at countless school events, games, and other activities.
Professionally, Dick was a member of the Iowa Pharmacist Association for more than 45 years, and a well-respected member of the Licensed Registered Pharm- acists since 1955.
Dick relished the roles of husband, dad, grandpa and friend to so many. He cherished his life partnership with Lucille and all that they shared. The two of them strived to provide a nurturing and loving home for their four children and supported them in all their many endeavors, both in childhood and into adulthood. They were their number one cheerleader at sporting events, music events, dance recitals and car races. Dick was known to travel to countless away games with friends to support the Broncos, and Lucille would make these trips when Brad played football and ran or coached track. They put in countless miles following son Scott as he raced stock cars. The family remembers trips to Minnesota to visit relatives, and excursions to other destinations. Dick and Lucille also created wonderful memories on bus tours and travels to Germany, Hawaii, Switzerland, Holland and other places. Dick loved music; he and Lucille enjoyed square dancing, polkas and watching the Lawrence Welk Show. Dick loved camping and time with the grandkids.
Those who had the privilege of crossing Dick’s life footsteps will remember him as a man who was first and foremost kind, open minded, well-spoken, intelligent, even-tempered and full of ambitions and visions for making the communities and the lives of his fellow man better.
His legacy will continue in the hearts and minds of his wife and life partner of more than 68 years, Lucille; daughters Debra D. (Richard) Dannen of Ames and Terri Marie (Mark) Havens of Belmond; sons Scott R. (Kelly) Bloemke and Brad A. Bloemke, all of Belmond; grandsons Michael (Lisa) Bryant, Travis Havens, Derek Havens and Blayze Bloemke; granddaughters Diana (Bryant) Kain, Josie Bloemke and Tayler (Collin) Swanson; great-granddaughters Emma L. Bryant and Victoria Rae Kain; and great-grandsons Charlie Bryant and Alexander Kain.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Raymond O. (Joan) Bloem-ke and Roland A. Bloemke; and sister Gretchen (Emil) Kamolz.