Richard J. Kwapich, an Air Force veteran and a former Wayne, Mich. police officer, died Thursday at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. He was 79.
He had lung cancer and developed complications, his family said.
The son of Roman and Marie Kwapich, Mr. Kwapich was born Aug. 2, 1938, in Toledo. Upon graduation from Macomber High School, he joined the Air Force, where he served for five years. Shortly after leaving the military, Mr. Kwapich joined the Wayne Police Department to start a 17-year career there.
“His whole life was dedicated to public service and family,” said his daughter, Karen Spencer. “He chose to be a patrolman because he wanted to make the community a better place. Serving others is what I think defined him.”
After working as a police officer, Mr. Kwapich was the owner and operator of Dick’s Trucking for 18 years.
During his life he also worked for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway as a locomotive fireman and engineer; Columbia Gas, and Ohio Fuel Gas.
Outside of work, he was dedicated to his family.
“He was a good police officer but he was a great family man,” said his sister, Bobbi Weaver.
Mr. Kwapich enjoyed several hobbies and loved spending time with his family, his daughter said.
Growing up, he would take the family on annual camping trips. He enjoyed being outdoors. In addition to camping, he loved fishing and golf. But one of his favorite hobbies was flying airplanes, his daughter said. He was a fixed wing and helicopter pilot.
“He did a little bit of everything in his lifetime,” his sister said.
Although he was large in stature, his daughter said at home he was a “big teddy bear.”
“He was a big man and very intimidating looking, but was was family oriented and had a kind heart,” she said.
Mr. Kwapich and his wife, Judy, were married for 56 years before she died in 2015.
He and his wife took care of their 56-year-old son Michael, who suffered brain damage from a car accident when he was 3.
“[Richard and his wife] were great parents,” his sister said. “They dedicated a lot of their life to him. It was so beautiful.”
He was a former member of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Toledo and a current parishioner of Regina Coeli Catholic Church.
Surviving are his sons, Michael and Lawrence Kwapich; daughter, Karen Spencer; sister, Bobbi Weaver, and seven grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe, 114 E. Alexis Rd. Services will begin at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in the mortuary and continue with the 11 a.m. funeral mass in Regina Coeli Church.
The family suggests tributes to the Victory Center, a facility that provides free services to cancer patients in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.