Ret. Michigan State Police Trooper Richard “Dick” Brian Solka Sr. , age 69, of Gladstone, passed away on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at his home as the result of a long battle with cancer.
Dick was born October 5, 1943 in Ishpeming, Michigan, the son of Harold and Helen (Christian) Solka. Dick graduated from Ishpeming High School in 1961 and upon graduation attended Northern Michigan University from 1961 to May of 1964. During the summers of 1961 through 1963 he also enjoyed working as a park ranger at the Straits State Park. He was employed with CCI at the Pioneer Pellet Plant in 1964 through December 1966 when he enlisted in the Michigan State Police. After graduation from the 65th Recruit School in Lansing in February 1967, he was assigned to the Brighton Post in lower Michigan where he worked until he was assigned to the Gladstone Post in June of 1969. He worked there until February of 1977 at which time he was transferred to a special duty assignment at the Detroit Freeway Post where he worked until Febraury of 1978. He then returned to the Gladstone Post where he remained until his retirement in 1992. While serving at the Gladstone Post, he was a Post Community Services Officer where he was responsible for coordinating and implementing programs involving youth and the presentation of crime prevention programs to businesses and other groups.
Following retirement, Dick worked for the City of Escanaba Recreation Department as assistant Harbor Master and at the Butler Building ice rink at the fairgrounds, where he enjoyed being a zamboni operator. He was active in various organizations including the Michigan State Police Troopers Association, the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police, former member of the Gladstone Golf Club and Yacht Club, former member of Central United Methodist Church , assistant coach for the Gladstone and Escanaba Little Leagues, assisted with youth hockey, was a driver examiner for the State of Michigan and was a former member of the Gladstone Jaycee’s where he served on the parade committee which was instrumental in establishing the Gladstone 4th of July celebration we now enjoy.
Dick will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.
Dick is survived by his wife, Susan J. (Harwood) Solka of Gladstone; children, Linda Claire (Liz Bryan) Solka of Minneapolis, MN, Pamela (Bill) Pfeifer of Alpena, MI, Richard Solka Jr. of Escanaba, MI, Sean Depuydt of Gladstone, MI, Melodie (Dan) Boling of Mount Pleasant, MI, Holly (Paul) Peoples of Gladstone, MI and Michael (Mindy) Harwood of Raleigh, NC; grandchildren, Andrew, Dylan and Kelsey MacNeill, Mitchell Pfeifer, Claire Bryan and Jiri Solka; 7 step granchildren; two brothers, Bruce (Fran) Solka of Chicago, IL and Honorable Judge Thomas (Liz) Solka of Marquette, MI; two sisters, Christine (Jim) House of Crystal Falls, MI and Lois Piskorz of Kissimmee, FL; numerous nieces and nephews and his former wife Linda Solka of Escanaba, MI.
He was preceded in death by his parents and first wife, Susan M. Solka.
The family would like to thank Dick’s caregiver, Brittany Davis and Marquette General Hospice for their kind and compassionate care.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, December 30 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Skradski Funeral Home in Gladstone. Funeral services will follow at 3:00 PM at the funeral home with Pastor Louis Hague officiating. A luncheon will be served following services at the Gladstone Yacht Club. Memorial contributions in Dick’s name may be directed to the Salvation Army.