Is Dick Wagner a football fan? “Absolutely!” says Dick, who resides at the Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC) Garden Apartments. An athlete throughout high school, his love of sports led him to two decades of officiating basketball and football games at the middle school, high school, and even college level.
His sideline as a referee began while attending college at Eastern Michigan University. Officiating became a pastime for Dick as he and his wife, Sue, settled into Ann Arbor and raised two sons and two daughters. Dick, who worked at his father-in-law’s bookstore in Ann Arbor, says “officiating helped the family out with a little extra income.”
While Friday nights found him under the lights at local high school football games, including Chelsea, Dexter, Pinckney, and Jackson, Saturday afternoons found him at The Big House, taking tickets at Gate 9. He also had the opportunity to officiate some University of Michigan scrimmage games during Bo Schembechler’s era. “It was a great way for my sons and me to attend the Michigan games,” says Dick.
When Dick retired, he and his wife moved to Florida. While there, he worked at Chi Chi Rodriguez’ Golf Club in Clearwater. He and his son also got to realize the dream of attending The Masters’ golf tournament in 2007 where Dick says he got Arnold Palmer’s autograph during a practice round.
Dick’s wife died of breast cancer and, after a few years, Dick returned to Michigan to be near three of his four children who live in the area (his oldest son, a University of Michigan graduate who lettered in baseball, lives in North Carolina). “I don’t know what I would do without them,” Dick says of his children. “They’re always right here when I need them.”
At 89, Dick knows the importance of staying active. He can be seen riding his bike around the CRC campus, or playing golf with his son-in-law, a retired Ann Arbor police officer, at the Pierce Lake Golf Course in Chelsea. He also enjoys growing tomatoes and grilling on his Garden Apartment patio. “I love it all here and have thoroughly enjoyed living at CRC.”
Dick continues to attend U of M football games with his son who has season tickets. Dick’s prediction for this Saturday’s Michigan – Michigan State game: “Michigan, of course!”