Richard Maher

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Richard J. “Dick” Maher, 73, of Blue Earth, died Sunday, May 2, 2010 at his home.
Richard J. “Dick” is the youngest son of the late Leo and Hanora (Hurd) Maher or Lawler, Iowa. Dick attended a small Northeast Iowa country school with his high school years spent at New Hampton Public School, where he participated in football, wrestling and baseball. He graduated in 1954 and enlisted in the Air Force where he worked as a teletype operator, spending the majority of his three-year enlistment at Hickam Field in Hawaii.
Upon completion of his military service, he attended Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa where he earned a bachelor’s in physical education and American history, graduating in 1961. During his time in Cedar Falls, he earned three varsity letters in wrestling. Dick earned is master’s in 1970 from the University of Northern Iowa and completed additional graduate work at Mankato State University.
Dick was married to Shirley I. “Shirl” Kuennen on June 13, 1959. He began his teaching career in Harmony, Minn. in the fall of 1961. He taught high school physical education, health and history. He also was the head wrestling coach, assistant football coach and initiated a boys golf program. In the summer of 1964 Dick was hired by the Blue Earth School system to teach elementary physical education and also to serve as head wrestling and assistant football coach. Dick taught elementary physical education from 1964 to 1974, and high school physical education from 1974 to 1982. He was the head wrestling coach from 1964 to 1977 and again during the 78-79 season. During those 17 years he also served as the assistant football coach.
In 1974 he became athletic director. In 1982 he became the school’s activities director which included acting as an assistant principle working primarily with school discipline.
Dick is the past president of the BE Education Association; a life member of the NEA (National Education Association); a 35-year member of the MN State Coaches Association; a 36-year member of the MN State Athletic Directors Association, serving as president in 1987; a 28-year member of the MSHSL Officials Association, officiating baseball, softball and wrestling for 25 years; past president of districts one and five; eight-year member of the old Region II Committee; vice chairman of section 2 for four years; and has served on numerous high school league committees, including as a current and longtime member of the State Athletic Directors Advisory Committee. He has assisted with the official weigh-ins at the state wrestling tournament for many years.
Dick has been an active member of SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church, serving as a lector and minister since 1964. He served on the church council for six years (four as chairman) and was a 55-year member of the Knights of Columbus. Dick had served for many years as chairman of the Blue Earth Police Commission and was active with the Blue Earth American Legion Scholarship Committee. He was currently serving as a Blue Earth City Councilman. Since 1979 Dick has been a wrestling color commentator with KBEW Radio for nearly all Blue Earth Area and any other meets in Southern Minnesota. Dick spent many summers surveying southern Minnesota for the ASCS office and later working with MAS Construction.
Dick has been honored with numerous awards. He was voted into the MN State Wrestling Hall of Fame; selected as MN Athletic Director of the Year; received the MN State Athletic Directors “Award of Merit”; was nominated for the National AD Association’s “Distinguished Service” award; was awarded the Blue Earth Area High School “Fan of the Year”; was selected as the 1996 Blue Earth Area Teacher of the Year; and was inducted into the MN Athletic Directors Hall of Fame in 2002.
Dick and Shirl have four children: John (Theresa) Maher of Austin, Mark (Lori) Maher of Blue Earth, David (Chris) Maher of Stafford, Va. and Michele Ritter of Blue Earth. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Sara Dowd of Lawler, Iowa; and brother, Ronald Maher of New Hampton, Iowa
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11 a.m. at SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church, with Father Mark McNae officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Blue Earth. Visiting hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Patton Funeral Home & Cremation Service and one hour prior to services at the church.
Web tributes may be left at
Expressions of sympathy are preferred in the form of memorial donations in Dick’s name to fund a Dick Maher Memorial Athletic scholarship through the Blue Earth Area School district.
Arrangements are by Patton Funeral Home & Cremation Service.

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