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Lt. Col. Richard ‘Dick’ Fechter

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Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Fechter (Retired IA ANG)  died Tuesday, June 14, 2022, after an eight-year battle with GIST cancer. His wife, son, and daughter were by his side in the Seasons Hospice Home in Rochester, MN.

Dick was born in Hartley, IA on July 29, 1947, to Lambert and Margaret Fechter. After his father’s death in 1959, the family moved to Lakefield, MN. Following in his mother’s and father’s footsteps, Dick earned his pilot’s certificate at the age of 16. After graduating from Lakefield High School in  1965, he earned a business degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, IA. 

In 1969, he married his high school sweetheart, Patricia Nasby. That year, Dick began Air Force Pilot Training for the 185th Fighter Wing. He graduated first in his class. In 1972, he and Pat moved to Omaha, NE, where their two children were born. In 1976, he accepted a position as a full-time fighter pilot with the Sioux City Air National Guard. Over the next 35 years, he logged over  3,700 hours in the F-100, A-7, and F-16. In 1990, he graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington D.C.

After retirement, Dick and Pat moved to Byron, MN. Through the Rochester Experimental Aircraft Association, he continued flying. There he met Pete Smith and Phil Conway. He assisted with the assembly of Phil’s homebuilt kit, and completed all flight testing of his Glasair II. Dick’s greatest joy was taking his four grandchildren and other EAA Young Eagles for plane rides. Over the last nine years, Dick logged over 600 hours in that Glasair.

His cousin, Steve Spang, was like a brother to him. They shared a passion for flying. Together they flew many hours in Steve’s planes, which included volunteering for Angel Flights all over the Midwest. Each summer they looked forward to attending the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.

Dick closed out his flight logbook this year with over 6,400 hours and a lifetime of memories.

Dick is survived by his wife of 53 years; his children, Thomas (Gina) Fechter of Oakton, VA and Jane (Craig) Erickson of Byron, MN; his four grandchildren,  Isabelle Erickson, Nathan Erickson, Aidan Fechter, and Katie Fechter; his siblings, Linda Doman of Mendota Heights, MN, Janet (Scott) Otis of West Des Moines, IA, Laura (Joe) Gagnon of Tampa, FL, Deanne Bauserman of Osage, IA, and David (Cathy) Jochims of Sioux Falls, SD; his sister-in-law, Barbara Nasby of Decorah, IA; brother-in-law, Robert (Karin) Nasby of Missoula, MT; and his aunt, Gladys Sauer of Spirit Lake, IA. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins. 

Preceding him in death were his parents, Lambert Fechter and Margaret Fechter Jochims Klingsporn; stepfathers, Arlo Jochims and Blaine Klingsporn; brothers-in-law, Patrick Doman and Scott Bauserman; and his in-laws, Helge and Isabelle Nasby. 

It was Dick’s wish to donate his body to Mayo Clinic. 

A Celebration of Life service will be held 11 a.m. Friday, August 12 with a visitation at 10 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church in Byron, MN with eventual burial in St. Francis de Sales Cemetery in Ossian, IA. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Rochester Seasons Hospice.

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