Obit: Richelieu, Clyde Carl (1909 - 2003)

Contact: Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Richelieu, Baker, Markham, Winter, Oberleen, Spiece

----Sources: Scrap book one: by Elsa Lange Hardrath & Dorthaleen Edwards Hardrath

Contributed by Halbert "Bud" Hardrath Source #2: Wis. State Journal Oct. 12, 2003


Richelieu, Clyde Carl (9 Aug. 1909 - 9 Oct. 2003)

Mount Horeb - Clyde Carol Richelieu, age 94, died peacefully on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2003, at Ingleside Nursing Home. He was born Aug. 9, 1909, in Owen, Wis. Richelieu’s life and professional careers spanned seven decades, and all were dedicated to some form of communication. As a young man be began his life-long loves of ham-radio and music. During the winter of 1928-29, he facilitated the 1928-29 Admiral Byrd expedition at the South Pole by relaying messages for supplies to New York. His love of music and the banjo helped him form many bands after graduation from Owen-Withee High School in 1927. In 1929, Richelieu married Lucy Estelle Baker of Greenwood. He received his radio engineer degree from Doge Radio College in Valparaiso, Ind. During the 1930s and 1940s, Richelieu was active in radio, and set up Marshfield’s WDLB radio station. In World War II he worked as senior radio engineer for the Civil Aeronatics Authority in Washington, D. C. managing 200 men who set up radio communications and navigational services around the world for the war effort. During the 1950s and 1960s, Richelieu dedicated his life to sales management in the time clock profession. In 1964, when most are retiring, Richelieu created the company which has garnered world-wide attention and praise, and still bears his name in Oregon, Wis., Richelieu Banjos. His love of the banjo was honored in May 2003 by naming him to the National Four String Banjo Hall of Fame. In 2001 he was honored as Humanitarian of the Year by Gonstead Chiropractice Foundation.

He will be lovingly remembered by his wife, Phyllis Markham Richelieu (married in 1990); daughters, Judith Richelieu of Washington, D. C., Rochelle Richelieu Winter and husband Jim, Pamela Markham Oberheide and husband Jeff, and Koleen Markham Spiece and husband Thom; grandchildren, Christine Winter, Lauren and Christian Oberheide, several nieces and nephews; and a world wide circle of friends. Funeral services will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 13, 2003, at Ellestad Funeral Home, 500 N. Eighth St., Mount Horeb, Wis. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Greenwood, Wis. Friends and family may call from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday at the Ellestad Funeral Home.

* * * *

Clyde Carl "Rich" Richelieu dedicated most of his life to playing and building banjos, and earlier this year, his efforts paid off: Richelieu was elected to the National Four String Banjo Hall of Fame.

"The Banjo Man," as many knew him, died Thursday at the Ingleside Nursing Home in Mount Horeb. He was 94.

Richelieu was known for building and playing exquisite banjos, but there was more to him than that. As a ham radio operator in 1928 and 1929, he relayed resupply request for Admiral Richard Byrd as the explorer trekked across the South Pole. During World War II, he managed 200 people in Washington, D.C., as they sent radio traffic across the world.

In 1964, after a long career in the clock profession, Richelieu turned this musical hobby into his profession. He opened Richelieu Banjos in Oregon and the business is still running today. He was an accomplished performer, and he earned the accolades of famous musicians and was featured on national television shows.

"Work has always been recreation to me," he told the Wisconsin State Journal in 1993. "Banjoing seems like play to me. I have never been unhappy working. That’s probably a Norwegian trait."

* * * Notes in margin - Clyde was born on the farm in Green Grove Township that Harold & Dorthleen Hardrath currently live on - Oct. 2003.



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