Richard L. “Dick” Pajula, 78, Rice Lake, passed away peacefully at his home Thursday, March 31, 2022, after a determined, courageous, and inspiring 34-year battle with multiple sclerosis.
Dick was born in Ironwood, Michigan on July 2, 1943, to Ruth Menestrena and Bernard Pajula. His mother, Ruth, died when Dick was two years old. Bernard later married Katherine Fedrowski, to whom were born his two brothers, Don and Dave.
Growing up in Hurley, used to heavy snowfall, Dick developed a passion for downhill skiing, becoming an expert – eventually using the skill as part of an army ski disaster extraction team. American. Dick shared this passion for skiing with his family for many years.
Dick graduated from Holy High School, Hurley, in 1961. He entered service in 1961, joining the Army National Guard. While in the Guards, he attended State Higher University and earned a degree in commerce and accounting. In 1967, he attended officer candidate school and became a company commander at Superior.
Dick met Joan in 1967. They were married in Superior on July 20, 1968. They lived in Superior for two years, then moved to Grand Forks, ND, in 1969. Dick earned his master’s degree in accounting at the University of North Dakota and became a CPA.
In 1969 they moved to Bloomington, Minnesota. Dick joined Arthur Anderson and enjoyed working with this accounting firm from 1969 to 1979. During this time sons Craig (1970) and Jeff (1973) were born.
The family moved to Rice Lake in 1979 when Dick joined Jerome Foods/The Turkey Store. He held several leadership positions, including CFO and VP of Operations, including a three-year tenure in Faribault, Minnesota. In 2001 the company was sold to Hormel Foods, at which time Dick retired.
He then joined the Rice Lake Town Council, the Rotary Club and, a lifelong accounting enthusiast, started his own consulting firm.
The family lived in three homes in Rice Lake – a country home near Montanis Lake, a home on the hill at Allen Street and eventually built their dream home on Rice Lake where they spent their last days in enjoy its beautiful view of the water and Wisconsin Sunsets.
Dick was an active outdoorsman, spending weekends with his family and friends hunting, camping, skiing and golfing – among many other activities. Although his MS diagnosis physically slowed down some of these activities, he remained staunchly active and engaged throughout his life.
Dick never forgot a name and had an admirable skill in remembering and caring about what was important to each person he met in his life.
Dick and Joan developed a love for travel, including trips to Germany, Spain, London, Alaska, Mexico and numerous cruises. They spent 16 wonderful winters in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Surviving, in addition to his wife, are sons Craig (Amy) and Jeff (Seema); grandchildren Jack, Tate, Bianca and Karina; brothers Dave (Linda) and Don; a sister-in-law Julie (Mike) Stamos; as well as several nieces and nephews.
A Christian Burial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 8, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rice Lake, with Father Ed Anderson officiating. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Thursday at Appleyard’s Home for Funerals, Rice Lake, and one hour before church services.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Multiple Sclerosis Society or Marshfield Medical Center – Lakeview Hospice would be appreciated.