Richard (Dick) Beier, 75, passed away on June 21, 2024, at the Mayo Hospital Emergency Room after dealing with multiple health issues over the last several years.

Dick was born on March 28, 1949, at the Sparta Hospital to Cecelia (O’Rourke) and Frank Beier of Wilton.

A quiet man for the most part, Dick wasn’t afraid of conversation. Anyone who spent time talking with him played a risky game, never knowing if they’d receive just a simple statement or some long-winded story about the past – usually with some nugget of information that had been long forgotten. He was a walking encyclopedia when it came to knowing who had lived in Wilton and the surrounding areas, remembering who had occupied certain farms and houses for multiple generations. Having context in terms of local history was important to Richard, and it was something others approached him about to gain a better understanding of the past. The topics didn’t really matter to Richard, though, as he just enjoyed talking about anything with anyone.

Dick grew up in Wilton, Wis., enjoying small town life to its fullest. In the 1950s, that meant running with the kids in the neighborhood, going swimming in the Kickapoo River, hiking up to Man Rock and watching the trains come and go through Wilton. He remembered that in one of his elementary school classes, they took a train ride to Sparta and back as a field trip.

Over the years, he told many stories of his school days at both Wilton and at Royall High School in Elroy. His class was the first from Wilton to spend all four years at Royall. It was there he met more lifelong friends. He often told the stories of cruisin’ around backroads, going to dances and having that ‘special beverage’ with them while cleaning up some of the tales of the adolescent tomfoolery that also happened along the way.

As much as Dick enjoyed a good time, he loved to work. He was meticulous when it came to most projects that he undertook—everything had to be done in the right order and done correctly or done over.

Developing that work ethic started with his role in family business – the Beier chicken hatchery. He and his siblings would tend to chores in the barn in the backyard before and after school. During high school, Dick worked for Frankie Wendt as a typesetter for the Wilton Digest – Star Herald. Following high school, Dick went to Western Wisconsin Technical Institute (now Western Technical College) in La Crosse for commercial printing.

Dick’s career path included several businesses, including Pyroil, NCR in Viroqua, Fine Arts Checks in Madison and Doyle HandyMark in Mauston. At Doyle HandyMark, Dick was able to be part of an apprenticeship program, which he enjoyed and was proud to complete.  It was there that he worked on printing stickers from a small movie called “Star Wars” that were included in General Mills cereals. Dick spent nearly 12 years at the Tomah Journal as a pressman before lengthy stints at the Hillsboro Sentry Enterprise and the Monroe County Publishers (now known as Evans Media Group).

When there was free time, Dick found pleasure in hunting and fishing. A day in a tree stand was, to him, one of the best ways to spend time. At home, bird watching was important. Dick spent time identifying and cataloging the birds that would come to the various feeders around the house. He was known for his beautiful, large garden that he tended and harvested every year — weeds didn’t have a chance of survival! There was an old Harley Davidson motorcycle that occupied plenty of Dick’s time as well — though he seemed to spend more time trying to get it to run than actually riding it.

Tending to the barn was another important part of his hobby life. Dick invested countless hours ensuring his barn was the crown jewel of the block, with improvements every year to give it a look that honored its history serving the Beier hatchery business.

Perhaps the most well-known pastime Dick enjoyed was his love of music – bluegrass, in particular. He taught himself to play harmonica at the midpoint of his life and would sometimes be coaxed enough to perform for audiences. He would attend bluegrass festivals and played with countless musicians through the years, but he did have a fondness for the groups he performed with later in life at senior meal sites.

His newest love was his granddaughter, Freya. He became “Papa” to her, and he loved to watch her play, explore and grow in her ever-changing world.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Fran, and her husband, Bill Neuman; his ex-sister-in-law, Glory Mollnick; and his sister-in-law, Sherri Savall.

Richard is survived by his wife, Linda (Savall), of 47 years; his sons, Nathan (Logan Everson) and Johnathan (Megan Sievers); one granddaughter, Freya Beier; his brothers, Verdell (Mary) Beier and LaVern Beier; along with many cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends.

A celebration of Richard’s life will be held on Friday, July 12, at noon at the Torkelson Funeral Home, 1132 Angelo Road, Sparta, Wis.  Family and friends are invited to the funeral home for visitation from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Lunch will be served immediately following the funeral.  A private interment will be at a later date.

The Torkelson Funeral Home of Sparta is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences may be offered at