SEQUIM — A memorial service is planned Sept. 4 for Louie Rychlik, a longtime Sequim businessman and volunteer, who died Aug. 9.
Rychlik, who was selected the 2015 Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, died of natural causes, according to his family. He was 74.
“We are devastated by the loss of our lifelong friend and important member of the Sequim Museum,” said Judy Reandeau Stipe, volunteer executive director at the Sequim museum.
A gathering to pay respects to Rychlik is planned from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road, Sequim, Stipe said.
It will include his favorite music, humorous stories about his life and a slide show of photographs.
“The Museum Board wants to honor Louie in the building when he began school in 1947 and the place he has worked so hard during the last 2 ½ years. The historically restored old classroom will be open also,” Stipe said.
Rychlik is survived by his children Rodney and Cristina, sister Kathy Hahn of Port Angeles, 11 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, nephews, nieces and cousins in the area. His children Louie Jr. and Danyale predeceased him.
Owner of Louie’s Well Drilling of Port Angeles, Rychlik was known in the community for his philanthropic and volunteer endeavors throughout the community, such as Sequim’s Museum and Arts Center, the city of Sequim’s Music in the Park series, local Sequim festivals, construction of a BMX track and other community efforts.
“He was my wing man, my right hand — he was like a brother,” Stipe said. “He would do anything I asked him to do.
“If I needed a project completed, like returning the Lehman murals to buildings in downtown Sequim, I called Louie to take charge. He could get his friends on the task without a lot of talk and make it happen.”
Among the several community projects for which he received accolades, Rychlik had said the Veterans Monument was his favorite. Featuring a cavalcade of flags and inscribed tiles recognizing veterans of all U.S military branches, the monument is at 544 N. Sequim Ave., across from Sequim High School campus.
“That’s special,” Rychlik had said. “I thought, ‘I have to do more for the veterans.’ ”
Reandeau Stipe, who nominated Rychlik for the chamber of commerce honor, said, “He loved veterans [though] he wasn’t a veteran.”
“He was kind of special … willing to do anything for the community that supported him.”
In her letter of nomination to the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, Stipe provided a bit of Rychlik’s biography.
He was born at the Port Angeles General Hospital in 1942 to Louis Rychlik and Marcella Swanburg Rychlik. The fourth of seven children, he attended Dungeness School starting in 1947, before transferring to Sequim in 1955.
Rychlik married Marla (Parker) on Sept. 11, 1972, in Port Angeles, and the two raised Danielle (“Boo-Boo”) Rychlik.
A 23rd degree member of the Masonic Lodge and the Shriners, Rychlik owned and operated Louie’s Well Drilling for more than 40 years. His wife was a business manager for the company before her death in July 2008.
Rychlik was a supporter of the restoration and beautification of the Dungeness Schoolhouse, Stipe recalled, going so far as to hang lights from the belfry this past holiday season, she said.
Along with friend Dan Smith, a retired contractor and fellow Sequim Prairie Pioneer, Rychlik took on the role of project manager of an elevator installation project at the schoolhouse last year.
When a Sequim citizen requested help to return the “May Pole Dance” to the Irrigation Festival celebration in May 2015, Stipe recalled, Rychlik hand-dug a hole, then provided a flagpole that he decorated with plastic flowers and ribbons.
“He does these things without help, expense reimbursement and no expectations of even a thank you,” Stipe wrote about Rychlik.
No list of survivors was available for this story.
Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].