Although he was taken from his loved ones too soon, Rick Sitar made a significant impact in the lives of so many others. He was driven, hardworking, and intelligent with an inner strength that was such an inspiration. Rick was deeply devoted to his loved ones, and he was the sort of person who was always available to help in whatever way he could. Rick was never one to let life get the best of him, rather, he made the most of every day he was given. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever cherish.
The 1960s were a time unlike any other in America. We elected the young John F. Kennedy as our 35th President of the United States, civil rights were gaining momentum, and by the end of the decade we had put the first man on the moon. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great joy in the lives of Robert and Barbara (Wroblewski) Sitar as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Ricky S. on September 26, 1962, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Always known as Rick, he was the older of two as he became a big brother when his sister, Terri, was born about two years later. Beginning from the time she was born, Rick and Terri had a special bond, and they were always there for each other no matter what. As a big brother Rick made sure that his sister never walked to or from school alone. They always had dogs growing up, which instilled within Rick a lifelong love for animals. As a teen Rick enjoyed bowling and fast cars, and in high school he was quite the ladies man. In addition to holding down his studies at Pius XI High School, he worked at Dino’s Pizza.
After graduating from high school in 1980, Rick joined the Air National Guard on June 20, 1981. He was assigned to the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee. After completing his basic training, Rick dedicated one weekend a month in addition to two weeks of active duty every year to the Guard until his retirement on July 28, 1997. While never called up to active duty, Rick’s unit was put on “stand-by” during Desert Storm. By the time he retired, Rick had earned the rank of Master Sergeant.
Although Rick attended some college, he never earned a degree. He was very intelligent, and learned computer design. Over the years Rick worked for various companies, but he found the perfect fit at Certified Power where he spent the last 18 years designing driveshafts. He loved his job there and his coworkers were his second family. When it became too difficult to drive to work, they allowed Rick to work from home. He was eventually promoted to senior design engineer and was known for his strong work ethic and willingness to go above and beyond.
While in his twenties, Rick practically made a career out of being the best man in the weddings of family members and friends, but this would actually be how he ended up meeting his true love. Her name was Beth Sokolowski, and their paths crossed at a wedding they were both attending. Although another man originally caught Beth’s eye while they were there, when Rick wound up with her phone number by accident they talked for hours the first time he called. They later went out on their first date to see Back to the Future, and by the time their date was over Beth knew Rick was the guy for her. They dated for two years, and on Halloween in 1987 they were married. Rick and Beth bought a “fixer-upper” home in Milwaukee, and after ten years they built their dream home in Genesee, Wisconsin, complete with a large garage and an even larger out building where Rick kept his cars. A lifelong dog lover, Rick knew he had married a cat lover so he gave Beth a cat they named Orville as a wedding present. Soon, he had become a cat person, too. Ginger (who stole Rick’s heart) eventually joined Orville while Gizmo and Sweetie are the current cats in the house. Although they didn’t have children, Rick and Beth opened their home to children of the furry, four-legged variety over the years.
Rick was an avid and expert bowler, often taking up to 6 bowling balls with him. He had several 300 point games and even tried out for Bowling with the Champs. Together Rick and Beth lived life to the fullest. Although they weren’t big gamblers, they loved going to Las Vegas. Usually, Rick went to a car show as he loved collecting cars to fix up. Sadly, his health problems usually made fixing the cars difficult. Rick and Beth went to Warrens, Wisconsin, for their Cranberry Festival every year, and it also wasn’t uncommon for them to drive 90 minutes to get a steak sandwich in Wautoma. Rick took up woodworking and became an accomplished carver – he loved making gifts for family and friends.
Rick and his sister, Terri maintained their special bond throughout his life – dedicated to each other in both good and bad times.He was the godfather to both of Terri’s children, Brittany and Ryan, and he had an incredible bond with them both. Rick cherished spending time with his niece and nephew, and he took great pride in their accomplishments as though they were his own children. He beamed with pride at Ryan’s graduation when he became a firefighter. In fact, Ryan asked Rick to be his best man in his wedding in the coming year. Although Rick wasn’t into celebrating holidays, he never missed a holiday celebration because it meant he got to be with his family. When Terri would tell him, “I love you,” Rick would always say, “Back at you.”.
When he was in his thirties, Rick developed sarcoidosis and also struggled with diabetes and later kidney problems.
In July of 2017, he suffered a stroke, and the the health issues that followed took a lot out of Rick. He was never one to complain, responding to a “how are you doing” with “hanging in there.” Through his many challenges, he was still there when his family needed him no matter the personal sacrifice or cost. Rick’s sentimental side always showed under his sassy and sometimes gruff exterior, but you could see it more following the stroke. He remained a joker and sassy until the end and was known to jokingly flip people the bird to express his opinion!
With unending devotion to his loved ones, Rick Sitar was a blessing in the lives of those around him. He worked hard, but he played hard, too, and everything was better when shared with his family and friends. Rick was filled with unwavering strength, and he faced whatever came his way head on. Although he accomplished so much of which to be proud, he was a humble man whose greatest joy was found in the accomplishments of his loved ones. Rick will never be forgotten.
Rick S. Sitar. Born to Eternal Life December 1, 2018, age 56 years. Beloved husband of Beth (nee Sokolowski). Loving son of Barbara (Roger) Niese and Robert (Beverly) Sitar. Cherished brother of Terri (Keith) Balash. Dearest uncle of Brittany (Eric) Glad, Ryan (fiancee, Kimberly) Balash, Rachel (Joseph) Markase, and Katie Sokolowski. Fond brother-in-law of Phil, Chuck (Christine), and Mike (Mary) Sololowski. Further survived by other relatives, his work family at Certified Power, and many dear friends. Family and friends will gather at Old Saint Mary Church, 844 N. Broadway, Milwaukee on Saturday, December 8, 2018 from 9:30 AM – 11:45 AM. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 12:00 Noon. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Wounded Warriors Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675 are greatly appreciated.