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Richard KranzJanuary 23, 1937 ~ January 9, 2018 (age 80)
Richard Paul "Dick" Kranz
Scholar, Collector, Character 1937 – 2018
Richard Paul "Dick" Kranz always enjoyed reading an interesting obituary. He is deserving of no less. Born in Chicago January 23, 1937 to Hans and Alice (Schultz) Kranz, he died on January 9, 2018 of respiratory failure following a brain aneurysm; he also fought a long battle with Myasthenia Gravis.
Opinionated but never dull, Dick had an encyclopedic knowledge of history, military history, geography, natural history, economics, hunting, and arts and antiques, all of which came to good use throughout his career as a high school teacher, personnel analyst, rifle squad leader, Army personnel specialist, management trainer and instructor, and eventually as a collector and bibliophile. Dick's presence at antique, book or coin shows was continually enjoyable as he could always provide the historical context on virtually any object or topic.
His fascination with history was due in part from having had the good fortune to grow up with all four grandparents involved in his life and he developed an early love of the outdoors and interest in world events from them. As a youth he would wander the forest preserves tracking and collecting specimens, refining skills which would serve him later in the military and in hunting. He graduated from St. Benedict High School in 1955, DePaul University in 1959 and attended John Marshall Law School in 1960.
Dick's employers included the U.S. Postal Service, Pure Oil, the Chicago Public School System teaching inner city high school students, and he eventually spent 30 years with the City of Chicago Department of Personnel as a Personnel Analyst. While with City Personnel Dick developed and instructed seminars to hundreds of City employees annually, including Management and Supervision, Situational Leadership, Time Management, and Pre-retirement Planning. Dick's wit, presentation skills and breadth of knowledge of the inner workings of City government made his classes memorable. He was the rare individual who could make work look like fun. He also served as training consultant in special assignments for the Chicago Police and Fire Departments.
While serving in the U.S. Army at Ft. Benning during 1960 – 62, Dick was selected for a covert mission to lead a sniper and rifle squad in Laos helping to teach native Laotians to defend themselves against the invading Pathet Lao forces from Communist China in the pre-Vietnam period. Despite daily combat scenarios, Dick brought his entire squad back without a casualty and kept the true extent of his military experience to himself.
Following retirement Dick purchased a tree farm (timber) in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for hunting and fishing and travelled throughout the U.S. In 2013 he married his soulmate (or co-enabler) Catherine Grochowski with whom he could enjoy antiques, collectible books and the interesting people who deal in them.
Dick is survived by his wife Catherine, brothers John (Arlene) Kranz, Jim (Ellen) Kranz, and numerous nieces and nephews. In keeping with Dick's varied interests he was a member of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, the American Numismatic Association, the Art Deco Society, and was a life member of the NRA and a life member of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The wake will be at Cooney Funeral Home, 3918 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago, (773) 588-5850 on Monday, January 15, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Prayer service is at 7 pm Interment will be private.