Life Story / Obituary
Richard “Dick” Alvin Outland, 89, died on November 29, 2020 in Ignite Hospice of Oak Creek. He was born in Green Bay on September 19, 1931 to Ellwood and Alice (nee Peterson) Outland. He spent his childhood in Milwaukee, graduated from Shorewood High School, then received a Bachelor of Science degree from UW-Madison in 1953. On July 3, 1954, he married Joyce Wolter of Chicago.
Dick served in the Army as a ballistic meteorology specialist during the Korean conflict from 1954–1956. After his discharge, he was employed by AC Sparkplug, a division of General Motors, to develop designs of inertial guidance systems for the Thor missile and the Titan intercontinental ballistic missile. He also built a navigation system for commercial airplanes which replaced the navigator. Dick spent many hours in the cockpit while flight-testing. He later became their international marketing manager.
Ever the raconteur, Dick told tales of his experiences in the Middle East as he negotiated contracts with state officials and airline chief engineers, such as, Iraq’s Tariq Aziz (over a cup of mint tea) or with the commander of the Moroccan air force and personal pilot to the King. Once, on a delivery flight to Dacca, Bangladesh, the flight crew were debating proper orientation of their prayer rugs for daily prayers. Dick showed them how to enter the coordinates for Mecca, so they could position their rugs accordingly in the aisle. He was requested to be on the first Bangladesh delivery flight of the Boeing 707, a flight on which he took good teasing about the art of chewing betel nut. Dick worked well under the autonomy given him as he landed large contracts for General Motors in those distant locations and cultures. After he retired in 1992, he continued to serve as a consultant with the company.
In retirement he was president of the G.M. Salaried Retirees Club. Other activities included many years of dedicated volunteer service to Racine’s Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church, and he served as an officer in the Milwaukee organization, Early Music Now. His wife, Joyce, died March 7, 2000 in Racine. He later married Frances M. Bedford, professor emerita of music, UW-Parkside, on May 24, 2003. They shared a great love for music. He is survived by Frances; his sister, Nancy (Roger) Weede; niece Elizabeth Weede (Aaron) Vanden Heuvel; daughters Leslie (Matthew) Michelic and Lauren Outland (Fred) Witten; grandsons Joshua Maxwell Mendelson and Adam (Maurisa) Michelic; granddaughters Joanna (Daniel) Lawrence and Rebecca (Anthony) Menning; great grandchildren: Adalyn Michelic, Francis, Lionel and Ruth Menning; step-children: Eric Bedford, Monte (Beverly) Bedford and Shelley Bedford (Leon) Miller; and four step-granddaughters: Sibyl Bedford (Manuel) Kleiner; Iris Bedford (Nate) Cushman; Roxanne Miller, Amy Miller (David) Clark; and step great-grandchildren: Ilan Kleiner, Devon Miller, and Weston and Evelyn Clark.
Relatives and friends may meet with the family on Friday, December 4, 2020 from 2:00 pm until 3:00 pm at the funeral home. Masks are required.To view the visitation online please go to Dick's page on the funeral home website, www.meredithfuneralhome.com, select visitation/services and then the Live Stream option.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.