Richard (Rich) Perry Ditty, age 82, of Delano, passed away Friday, March 6, 2015, at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia.
He was born Feb. 5, 1933, in Delano, to Perry and Cecilia (Kiedrowski) Ditty.
As an outstanding Delano High School athlete, Rich received All Conference honors in baseball, football, and basketball. He also was named to the All-State Minnesota Central football team, and Region 5 basketball and baseball teams.
Rich served in the United States Army from June 11, 1953, to May 20, 1955. After his service as private first class, he was honorably discharged from active duty.
A member of the Delano Athletic Club for more than 30 years, Rich helped raise funds to support youth baseball and girls’ softball, as well as town team baseball. He coached Little League baseball and St. Peter’s grade school basketball team. He also served as secretary and treasurer of the Athletic Club for 10 years.
Rich was a player for the Delano A’s for 26 seasons, and manager for more than 20 years, during which the team made the state tournament five times and was runner-up in 1971.
He served as a baseball league officer and regional commissioner, which led to his induction into the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, and the North Star Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
Rich was the primary caretaker of Delano Municipal stadium during his time with the A’s. He also was the chairman for the 1984 State Tournament, which took place in Delano and Maple Lake.
He was a member of the Delano American Legion, Delano Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Delano Knights of Columbus. Rich served on the Delano Fourth of July Committee for more than 20 years. He also served two terms on the Delano School Board, and served on the Delano Power Commission.
Rich was named Delano’s Citizen of the Year in 1995.
He was a member of the Delano Fire Department for 39 years, and served as assistant fire chief and secretary. Rich worked around the clock during the floods of 1952, 1957, and 1965, keeping pumps running, supervising sandbagging, helping with municipal power plant survival, and servicing many calls for people in the flood area
He was an active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Delano.
Rich and Donna raised eight children in Delano, before moving to Walker to enjoy their retirement. They both loved Walker very much. There, they were members of the church of St. Agnes.
Rich was an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved taking the grandkids out in the “Eliminator” for a boat ride and some fishing.
He will be truly missed and remembered for all the lives he touched.
Rich was preceded in death by his wife, Donna (Demarais); son Perry; parents Perry and Cecilia; grandson Paul (Gilmer); and brother Paul Ditty.
He is survived by children, Rhonda (Greg) Gilmer, Penny (David) Sinkel, Jodi (Tom) Fautsch, Shelly (Herb) Koch, Pat (Joe) Motzko, Rick (Ruth) Ditty, and Mike (Mary) Ditty; 23 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; siblings Therese (Gerald) Borrell, Mary Grengs, Carol (Richard) Hemberger, Nancy (Jim) Stevens, Tom (Barbara) Ditty, and Catherine (George) Kraemer; and sister-in-law Ardella Ditty.
Mass of Christian Burial took place Wednesday, March 11 at 11:30 a.m. at St Peter’s Church in Delano.
Visitation was Tuesday, March 10 from 4 to 8 p.m.
The Iten Funeral Home in Delano handled the arrangements.