By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – He was small of stature, almost dwarfed by the podium set up for citizen comments, but that never stopped Richard Duchene from speaking up loudly at city council meetings.
“This is Richard Duchene” he would boom out, before voicing his opinion on one of the city council’s meeting’s hot topics. Sometimes he would just plug an event at the library, where he was an active volunteer, urging residents to take their newspapers to the library recycling bin.
Because he was hard-of-hearing, sometime his voice would boom out during the meeting itself, when he shared a too-loud comment with the person sitting next to him. No one minded too much, though, because it was an expected quirk.
Duchene, 93, died April 24, with a funeral mass held April 30 at Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Lincoln Park.
He leaves his wife, Jeanne; his sons, Gerald (Valerie) and Robert (Yvonne); five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Mayor Thomas Karnes said Duchene will be remembered for his time up at the podium during city council meetings.
“A quote of his would be, ‘I wonder,’ and had a curiosity about him that never ceased,” he said. “He was a great advocate for the library through Friends of the Library.”
Karnes urged residents to take newspapers to the library recycling bin in Duchene’s memory, and a moment of silence was observed in his honor at the beginning of citizen communication time.
Councilman Mike Higgins said Duchene did a great service to the city by keeping the elected officials “on their toes.”
“He always spoke eloquently, and he always spoke politely,” Higgins said.
Higgins said Duchene also was supportive of the school district, and volunteered with a benefit walk Higgins chaired.
“Mr. Duchene was a good man, and a good friend,” he said.
Councilman Larry Kelsey said Duchene would come up to the council table after a meeting to ask questions.
“He was a very interesting individual, involved in a lot of different organizations, and the UAW,” he said. “He was very fun to talk to, very informative, and for his age of 93, he got around pretty good. He will be sorely missed.”