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Robert C. Schwickerath, 96

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Robert C. Schwickerath, age 96 of New Hampton, died Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, at the New Hampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, North Washington, with the Rev. James Goerend celebrating the Mass. 

Interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, North Washington.

Friends may greet the family from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton where there will be a 7 p.m. Parish Scripture Service.  Visitation continues an hour prior to Mass at the church on Friday.

Robert Carl Schwickerath’s remarkable life began on May 2, 1926, when his parents, Alfred and Josephine (Mishak) Schwickerath welcomed him into the world. He grew up on the family farm near North Washington, where he attended school at St. Mary’s Catholic School. At a young age, he developed a standout work ethic and a compassion for others that he carried throughout his life.

Robert and Marlys Hentges attended the weekly Saturday night dances in Alta Vista, and one night, a spark was lit and it burned brightly for years. They began dating, fell in love and were married on April 19, 1950, at Immaculate Conception Church in North Washington. The marriage that began that day was one for the ages as Robert and Marlys set a shining example of what a couple should be.

He made a promise to his father-in-law that he would take good care of the Hentges family farm, and he kept that vow — raising crops, chickens, hogs and cattle while also growing seed beans for Pioneer. Robert and Marlys loved to dance, fish, play cards and visit with family and friends.

The couple welcomed three children — Lynn, LuAnn and Lynette — and the three Schwickerath kids had a dad who taught them to always say “please” and “thank you,” grew the most beautiful flowers, had a perfectly manicured lawn and could fix just about anything — always ending a project with the declaration “that’s good enough for the girls we go with!”

When Marlys was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Robert took his vows — “in sickness and in health” — to heart. Every day, he would help her with her makeup and jewelry, and right up to Marlys’ passing in 2016, there was no doubt who was the love of his life.

Robert had a deep faith, and for many years, he was active in the North Washington Men’s Choir and he often ushered at the church, where he was a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters.

He spent more than 25 years working at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home, and the home’s owner, Bryan Hugeback, said “he never met a more decent man than Robert Schwickerath.”

Then again, Robert was a man who always put others before himself. He had an “open-door policy” at his home. At his home, the front door was always unlocked at 8 a.m. and people were welcome to come in. Knocking was just an option, and once inside, those who visited the Schwickerath house knew that the open-door policy included the refrigerator.

As good of a father as he was, he was an even better grandfather to his five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren — rarely missing their school activities and sports.

Robert, to put it simply, was a gentlemen’s gentleman. Even late in life, he was always apologizing to others who had to do things he could no longer do, but the truth was, they didn’t mind because he had helped so many people in his long and fulfilling life.

He will be missed, no question about it, but the people whose lives he touched also know that Robert is now reunited with his beloved Marlys and dancing in Heaven.

Survivors include his children, Lynn (Linda) Schwickerath, LuAnn Lechtenberg, both of New Hampton, and Lynette (Randy) Mahowald of Burnsville, Minnesota; five grandchildren, Brad (Toni) Schwickerath, Brent (Jenny) Schwickerath, Derek Lechtenberg, Dustin (Jessica) Lechtenberg, and Darcy (Casey) Stika; great-grandchildren; Jake, Cora, Jamie, Mia and Ada Schwickerath, Levi and Landon Lechtenberg, and Mason, Amelia and Sawyer Stika; one sister, Bernice Felder of New Hampton; and one brother, Cletus (Eleanor) Schwickerath of New Hampton.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Marlys on Sept. 2, 2016; son-in-law, Dale Lechtenberg; sisters, Joanna (Elmer) Geerts and Alice (Herb) Carpenter; granddaughter Angela Ann Lechtenberg; and great-grandson, Anthony Robert Schwickerath.

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