WILLIAMSFIELD – Richard “Diesel Dick” LaFollette passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, February 18, 2021.
Richard led quite an impressive life with lots of fun adventures from start to finish. When he was 18, he ran away to get married with no money and no clue how to get out of the state. He raced cars and motorcycles on race tracks and country roads. He was a fantastic driver and all-around great operator of any machine. His grandson, Ben didn’t inherit that skill, it’s a story involving Grandpa’s snowmobile and a birdbath. One of the things he was most proud of was being an Operating Engineer for Local 649, their “Blademan”, working on many projects including the Peoria Civic Center. When not watching baseball, football, Dr. Phil or NASCAR (he loved Richard Petty), you could find him driving around his beloved Billtown, smiling and waving and maybe causing a little trouble along the way. Every now and then you could catch him at the Par-A-Dice Casino playing the poker machines and having some crab legs.
He was very “into” rules and would sometimes let people know when they weren’t following them. So much so that at one point, he managed to get four meals for four dollars at Steak n Shake (if only they had known how to word their board correctly which was changed after he left the drive-thru!) Although he seemed tough, he would cry at a sad story or just because he felt things so deeply.
We are sure that everyone in town can thank Dick for some type of lesson or experience and also for all the golf balls on the roof of the school.
Richard Edwin LaFollette was born in rural Knox County on May 14, 1941, the son of Clarence and Hazel (Plum) LaFollette. He married Florann Johnson and Janet Crouch and later divorced. Survivors include his girlfriend and companion, Sue Damitz of Williamsfield, Chad (Cassie) Bell of Pekin, a daughter, Denise (Keith) Fishel of Williamsfield, grandchildren, Lacy (Derick) Dykeman of Williamsfield and Benjamin Fishel of Peoria and great grandchildren, Oliver “Bubba” Dykeman and Morton Dykeman. He was preceded in death by Billy Damitz, his parents and his brothers, William C. and Carl LaFollette.
Private graveside services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 23 at Williamsfield Cemetery. Those attending are required to comply with COVID regulations and wear a mask for the safety of all those attending. A celebration befitting of everything that Richard deserves in a Celebration of Life will be held at later date. Richard loved sitting at the park and would love the idea of memorials being directed to the Williamsfield Parks Association. Rux Funeral Home in Williamsfield is in charge of arrangements.
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