Community mourns Lt. Gen. Richard 'Dick' Seitz at funeral
July 22, 2013Fond memories and some laughter filled Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Parish in Junction City Monday afternoon during a funeral for retired Lt. Gen. Richard "Dick" Seitz.
The atmosphere was fitting for a man remembered by those who spoke during the service as one who celebrated life and so readily shared with others what he could offer.
"Dick was an exceptional person," retired Col. John Seitz said of his uncle and best friend. "Everyone he touched benefitted by his hand."
Many of those whose lives Dick Seitz touched attended the funeral, including Army colleagues, government officials, loved ones and community members.
Seitz died the morning of June 8 at his home. He was 95 years old.
About 300 people gathered inside the church to honor the man respected in the Junction City community as a leader, hero and role model.
During his homily, the Rev. Al Brungardt described Seitz as a "man for all seasons."
"We're not just talking the weather seasons," Brungardt said. "We're talking about experiencing all aspects of life."
Brungardt recalled seeing Seitz for 5:15 p.m. mass every Saturday night. He said Seitz always would sit in the fourth pew from the back.
But before mass, Seitz would walk up the steps of St. Francis Xavier, "greeting everyone, whether he knew them or not, recognizing the goodness of others," Brungardt said.
It was clear, Brungardt said, that Seitz was a man who enjoyed life and wanted the same for others.
"I think Gen. Seitz was one of those men who taught us how to live," he said.
To his own credit, Seitz led a storied life.
For 35 years, Seitz dedicated his life to his country by serving in the United States Army. He commanded the 2nd Battalion, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II, the 82nd Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps. He retired in 1975 from Fort Bragg, N.C.
After retiring from the Army, Seitz settled in Junction City.
Seitz became an icon during his 38 years of retirement in Junction City. He demonstrated his love for the community by offering his own time and resources and participating in activities.
Richard Seitz shared with those in attendance how his father routinely was able to overcome the odds.
For example, many of the stories surrounding Dick Seitz's airborne career may never have happened, Richard said, had his father not found a way to have a letter sent from Washington, D.C., commanding he not be transferred out of his unit before his career got off the ground.
Had he been transferred, Dick Seitz wouldn't have been the youngest battalion commander in World War II.
"Our father could do anything," Richard said.
Later in life, as medical issues kept him from attending his routine community events, Dick Seitz came to rely on his family and friends.
They were prepared, John Seitz said, to give back to the man who gave so much of himself to them and others.
"He appreciated everything we did for him," he said. "We all did it out of love."