LYLE GENE RICHEY
STRATFORD — Lyle Gene Richey of Stratford was born on October 18, 1931, in Hamilton County to Lester and Flossie (Gleason) Richey. He went to be with his Lord on Monday September 23, 2019, at the age of 87. Lyle married Betty Lou Vance on September 4, 1952, in Lehigh Iowa. Three daughters were born into this union; Holly, Tyla and April.
Lyle served in the US Army during the Korean war as Tank Commander from 1952-1954. On returning home he drove truck with his brother-in-law Ray Swanson. He also helped farm the family farm. One year because of flooding in his field by the Des Moines River, Lyle and Gilbert Schwering decided to plant sunflowers. The fields were beautiful and got a lot of attention. They hauled the seeds to Minneapolis and some to the Dayton Elevator. It wasn’t the most profitable crop but it was better than nothing.
In 1972, he became partners in the Landreth and Richey Construction Co. This was a dirt moving business using draglines, backhoes, and bulldozers. In 1975, he received his GED and graduated the same year as his daughter, Tyla. In 1980, Lyle became a big part of the Stratford “Fat Off Contest’. Men and women weighed separately on the elevator scale to see who could lose the most weight that spring. He cheated for the men by wearing a heavy log chain under his clothes. On the final weigh in he had the probe lift him off the scale. This stunt got him a lot of press. TV interviews, radio, and eventually an invitation to the Johnny Carson Show. Along with Myrtle Swedlund he took his log chain and went to California. Also, on the show that night was the comedian Buddy Hackett.
During the Stratford Celebrations, Lyle and Betty would play various characters in the skits that were performed during the tours. He has played a gypsy, a medicine man Dr KilMcure, and a moonshiner.
In 1983, he started a used car business on the Steuerwald Body Shop Lot. This business was a success. When the opportunity came, he took on the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep Dealership. In 1985, Lyle built a new building on Highway 175 called Richey Motors. The dealership earned Chrysler Corporations highest dealership honor the “Award For Excellence”. Only one in every 10 Chrysler Corp. Dealerships nationwide meet the criteria to qualify. In 2000, due to tighter rules and regulations he decided to retire.
He spent his retirement years taking care of the McGuire Bend Church maintenance and mowing the ground. Lyle and Betty went south in the winter for several year to Arizona and Florida. They loved going to Branson, Clay County fair, and following bluegrass bands.
Lyle loved the Lord and his Church. He cherished his family and loved all little children. He enjoyed life and loved living every minute of it.
Lyle was preceded in death by his parents, sisters and brother-in-law’s Bernice (Robert) Tell, Dorothy (Raymond) Swanson, Maxine (Dale) Steuerwald, Donald Ford, brother Sheldon.
Lyle is survived by his wife of 67 years Betty. Children: Holly (Leo) Lundberg, Tyla (Kim) Jensen Stratford, April (Will) Stewart Harcourt. 8 grandchildren: Amy Lundberg, Robyn (Jeremy) Barnes, Taylor (Megan) Jensen, Tanner (Morgan) Jensen, Isaac (Heather) Stewart, Katelyn (Adam) Mueller, Myra (Justin) Timpe, Ileigh (Jeff) Headley. 16 great grandchildren Levi Haman, Braden and Asher Eger, Cayson and Rylan Barnes, Adeline, Brynn and Emmett Jensen, Gabrial and Lillian Stewart, Aliza, Henry and Harris Mueller, Ryker, Wallace and Camilla Timpe. A sister Janice Ford.
A celebration of life service for Lyle will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at McGuire Bend United Brethren Church in rural Dayton, Iowa. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Stratford, Iowa, with graveside military rites conducted by the American Legion Post #576 of Stratford. A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 4, 2019 at Carson-Stapp Funeral Home in Dayton, Iowa.
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