Richard “Dick” Wayne Bittle of Marion, Illinois passed away peacefully on Friday, September 14th, 2018 at 11:45 a.m. in Saint Louis, MO with his loving family. Richard was born June 21st, 1939 the son of Howard and Pauline (Frick) Bittle in Union County, Illinois.
Richard will be greatly missed by his family and friends. His survivors include, his wife, Pamela Kay Yates Bittle, daughter Lisa Michele Cavaness and husband Jon of Marion, son Richard Jason and wife Robyn of Saint Louis, Missouri; grandchildren Nicholas Scott Cavaness of San Francisco, California, Zachary Michael Cavaness of Marion, Benjamin Theodore Bittle and Brooks Emmett Bittle of Saint Louis; his brother Dean and sister in law Sharon, their children Mark (Sharon), Todd (Beth) and Amy Brombaugh (Matt); brother Ronald and sister in law Peggy and their child Brad (Laurie); brother Bob; brother Randy and sister in law Lynn and their children Nathan (April), Max (Katie) and Wesley; nephew Eric and his many great nieces and nephews, along with several aunts, uncles and cousins. Richard was preceded in death by his parents Howard and Pauline, his brother Gary, his grandparents Walter and Cora (Lingle) Bittle and Daniel and Doris (Ferrell) Frick.
Richard attended Anna public schools graduating from Anna Jonesboro High School in 1958 and was a member of the First Baptist Church of Anna. After high school, Richard attended Southern Illinois University – Carbondale majoring in Communication with the goal of eventually working in Radio/TV. While attending college, Richard spun records as a DJ for WRAJ where he would dedicate records to his sweetheart and future wife Pamela Kay to whom he married in 1963. While the dream of working in Radio/TV never materialized he would fondly recall his time spent as a radio DJ. Richard enlisted in the United States Army Reserves in 1962 and attended basic training in Ft. Smith, AR and advanced infantry training at Ft. Dix, NJ. Richard was honorably discharged in 1963 returning back to Southern Illinois by way of hitchhiking from New Jersey.
Always a people person, Richard switched gears and found his calling in the hospitality industry. Richard began his hospitality career operating the Dairy Queen in Marion and then working for ARA Slater Food Service as a Manager Trainee where he assisted in establishing the food service for the then newly built SIU Arena. Shortly thereafter Richard opened the Sirloin Room Steak Restaurant in Carbondale. It was here that Richard got his first taste of entrepreneurship hoping to create the Sirloin Room concept into a chain of steak restaurants. Richard was then provided an opportunity to work for the Holiday Inn in Carbondale. After attending Holiday Inn Innkeeper’s School in Memphis, Richard became the Innkeeper of the Benton Holiday Inn and eventually moved to Marion opening the full service Holiday Inn. Richard and Kay would settle in Marion and raise their family. It was at the Holiday Inn in Marion where Richard’s talent of serving and entertaining people would blossom. Always one to do things his way, Richard then moved on to his true calling and embarked upon a long journey of entrepreneurship operating a coal mine with his brothers, developing real estate and eventually realizing his dream of building a hotel by opening the Shoney’s Inn Marion where we was able to work alongside his children Lisa and Jason and other team members, serving as a mentor to some whom have gone on to enjoy successful careers in the hospitality industry.
In 2008 Richard was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to continue his service to people by joining the Marion Medical Mission assisting with the building of water wells in Embangweni Malawi. Richard was an avid genealogist having assumed the role of family genealogist and spent countless hours researching family lines and DNA information. Richard’s hobbies included golf, politics, bird watching and was a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Richard will be remembered by his family as a loving father, grandfather and uncle and a caring, thoughtful friend and mentor who never forgot a name.
A visitation service will be held on Sunday, September 16th from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Mitchell- Hughes Funeral Home in Marion. A celebration of life for family will be held at a later date.
Donations may be made in his honor to the Marion Medical Mission. Envelopes will be available and accepted at Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home of Marion.