Richard Bartel Kirsch, age 81

Richard B. Kirsch

    Richard Bartel Kirsch, age 81, died peacefully on July 22, 2016 at West Hills Village Health Care in Rapid City.
    Richard was born on August 8, 1934 in Onida, S.D., to Walter and Rose Kirsch. After spending his earliest years in northern Minnesota, his family returned to Onida and then settled in Blunt. At Blunt High School, Richard excelled on the basketball court and in the classroom, graduating as valedictorian. He worked as a sportswriter for the Huronite while he attended Huron College, graduating with a Business Degree in 1957. In August of that same year, Richard married Jeanne Ann Peters, who would remain by his side for the rest of his life.
    Richard started his career as a teacher and basketball coach in Hingham, Montana, and then Volin, S.D. While in Volin, Richard earned his Masters’ in School Administration from the University of South Dakota. At age 26 he became the youngest superintendent in the state, while continuing to coach basketball. His final team in Volin finished 23-3 and had a special place in Richard’s heart. Richard later served as superintendent in Bonesteel (1962-65), Alcester (1965-72), Onida (1972-74), and Chamberlain (1974-76).
    In 1972, Richard and Jeanne started a new adventure, building the Badlands KOA Kampground on the White River near Interior. The family made the campground their home beginning in 1976. In the offseason, Richard taught business classes at Wall High School. Richard and Jeanne sold the campground in 1987. Richard was always proud of the campground, which won many awards and continues to operate today.
    After moving to Rapid City in 1987, Richard and Jeanne joined son Craig in owning and operating the Two Wheeler Dealer Cycle & Fitness Stores in Rapid City and Spearfish. They continued to work there until the stores were sold in 2007. Richard took great pride in the cycle and fitness stores, achieving prolonged success and numerous industry awards.
    Richard was an avid bicyclist. Locally, the Mickelson Trail was a favorite ride. He completed rides with Jeanne and other family across Iowa (twice), South Dakota, North Dakota, and Nebraska, as well as the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Into his early 80s, he could be found riding the backroads of Rapid Valley or Rapid City’s bike path. He was a devoted Catholic and an active member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral. He enjoyed politics, with an independent streak that once led him to run as a libertarian for the South Dakota State House. He was a member of the Family Heritage Alliance and served on the St. Thomas More School Board.
    Richard’s greatest passion was his family. He saw his five children pursue their varied interests and loved having them all live in Rapid City during his later years. He enjoyed watching his grandchildren grow and attending their concerts, plays, and sporting events, particularly his beloved game of basketball. His family in turn respected and adored him. His humility, integrity, and devotion provided his family a true hero and role model. He will be dearly missed.
    Richard is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jeanne; his children, Steven (Jan) Kirsch, Craig (Trisha) Kirsch, Rene (Doug) Brand, Karl (Shannon) Kirsch, and Adam (Sarah) Kirsch, all of Rapid City; 15 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and his siblings, Jan (Chuck) Carlbom of Interior, Rhonda Kirsch of Pierre, and Jon (Bernice) Kirsch of Lisbon Falls, Maine. He was preceded in death by his parents.
    In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established.
    Mass of Christian Burial was held Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help with Father Steve Biegler as celebrant. Inurnment followed at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Rapid City.
    His online guestbook is available to sign at

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