Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Thomas J. Richter

IRONWOOD, Mich. - Thomas J. Richter, 79, of Bessemer, passed away on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, with his loving family at his side.

Tom was born on May 8, 1940, in Ironwood to Erwin and Myrtle (Richards) Richter. He graduated from Luther L. Wright High School with the class of 1958. He attended Michigan Tech and received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1962. He married Sandra Spagnoletti in August 1962.

Tom worked for Pratt & Whitney and began his long career in Aeronautical Engineering. He worked as a civilian for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Era, then took a break from aeronautics to be the Wakefield City Manager and Mayor, and he worked at the White Pine Mine. He continued his aeronautical engineering career with Bell Helicopter, Aerospatiale, and many other companies around the world, including serving as a Designated Engineering Representative for the FAA for many years. He was still working as a consultant with the FAA when he died.

Tom loved to hunt and fish and traveled with friends and family for hunting and fishing adventures. He enjoyed playing cards and watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren in their many activities. When he wasn't being an engineer, he was logging and building furniture and other projects.

Thomas is survived by his wife Sandra; two daughters, Lori (Jim) Williams, of Manitowoc, Wis., and Kay Richter, of Ewen; and one son, Doug Richter, Denver, Colo .; two grandchildren, Teri (Scott) Zipperer and Chris (Bethany Futrell) Williams; and two great-grandchildren, Natalie and Violet. He is further survived by two brothers, Ray (Jann) Richter and Erwin (Pam) Richter; one brother-in-law, Fred (Lagayla) Spagnoletti; one sister-in-law, Frances Spagnoletti; and many nephews, nieces, other relatives and friends.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by one brother and sister-in-law, Don and Alice Richter.

Visitation will take place at All Saints Lutheran Church in Wakefield, from 9 a.m to 10:45 a.m. on Monday, June 24. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. at All Saints Lutheran Church, with the Reverend Bill Jacobson presiding. Lunch will be served at the church following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to All Saints Lutheran Church, 1202 Putnam Blvd, Wakefield, Mich., 49968 or the Mayo Clinic Cardiac Care, Mayo Clinic, PO Box 450, Albert Lea, Minn., 56007-9849.

Frick-Zielinski Funeral Service of Bessemer is aiding the family with arrangements. For more information or to express online condolences, please visit