Richard Read "Nick" Graebel died on Aug. 3, 2011.
He was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Dorothy Read and Richard Paul Graebel. He grew up in Springfield, Ill., and spent his summers in Tomahawk with family and friends. He moved to Madison in 1963 and became a firefighter in 1964. During his 41 years of service, he rose to the rank of lieutenant and became known as "The Commander." He was known for his generosity, humor and for respecting both sides of any argument.
Richard thoroughly enjoyed his time on earth. He was known for taking the scenic route and enjoying all of the views whenever he left the house. He was a bike commuter before it was Madison cool. He loved singing and was a longtime member of Madison Maennerchor, a German singing group.
He belonged to Madison Turners and served on the board for many years. It was Richard's mission to be the best father, grandfather and citizen he could be. Madison will not be the same without the big grandpa swinging kids on his shoulders, chasing them around and breaking out into song.
Richard is missed by his wife, Ilse; son, Pascal of Mount Shasta, Calif.; daughter, Isolde (William Lorman) of Middleton; sister, Mary (John) Hofmann of Green Bay; six grandchildren; and many friends and acquaintances.
A celebration of Richard's life will take place on Oct. 8, 2011, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at TURNER HALL, 3001 S. Stoughton Road in Madison; 608-222-4922.