Obituary

Tampa, Florida —With great sadness the family of Richard (Dick) Pollenz announces his passing on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 after an emergency hospitalization, at the age of 84 years.

A family service and celebration of life is planned for a future date. Memorial donations can be made to any organization of your choice in his memory or a donation can be made to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in support of his wife: https://alzfdn.org/support-us/donate/.

Richard’s stand-out quality was his unique ability to “be himself” throughout his entire life. He was intensely creative, competitive, determined, often irreverent, highly intelligent, and he thrived on challenging himself in the pursuit of his passions, whatever they were at any given moment.

Out of all other focuses, though, the most pivotal for him was his 62-year marriage to his wife, “Ginnie”. They married in 1957, the same year they both graduated college. In his own words he writes that “Ginnie has truly been my better half.” As a team they shared their enthusiasm in wide-ranging activities that included sports, community and religious organizations, and nurturing work, such as becoming hospice volunteers. Richard also had a deep love for his West Highland Terriers. He served as a volunteer at a Huntsville animal rescue shelter in recent years.

Richard was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 18, 1935. He attended Notre Dame as ROTC and graduated in 1957 on the Deans List with a degree in chemistry and two minor degrees in math and philosophy. He received a master’s degree in meteorology in 1962 and another specific masters in military strategic command in 1966. He decided to apply to Mensa in his late 70s “just because” and achieved an active membership.

Lt. Colonel Pollenz proudly served in the US Army Signal Corps from 1957 to 1979, participating in five overseas assignments, including Korea, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. He served in the Office of the Chief of Staff at the Pentagon. State-side, 11 assignments eventually moved the family through each region of the United States. After his military career he worked in Huntsville, Alabama as a system engineer for aerospace companies.

Richard had many abundant passions and participated in them all with abandon. He was a consummate athlete. In his early years he competed in hard-played sports such as handball and squash – and with a level of competitive focus that resulted in breakage of various body parts in his quest to win the match. He was a life-long golfer, a family sport that he started long before high school. In later years, he ran marathons. In his 40s, he and his wife built cross-country bikes and then completed many 1000+ cross-country trips together.

He was passionate about the arts, and maintained an extensive 3000+ cataloged classical CD collection that ranged from old masters to modern classical and advent guard. He continued to play his clarinet up until the last months of his life. He read voraciously, usually several books at a time. He wrote throughout his life, publishing papers within a career environment, but also extensively writing and self-publishing creative personal and family memorials. He became a cross-word aficionado and was able to publish some of his cross-word creations.

Pollenz family genealogy research became an ongoing hobby of his and he published his historical findings in two large family books and to an invite-only website. As an important celebration of this research he and his sister, Shelley, visited Europe and connected with previously unknown relatives. They were able to also trace and honor Pollenz ancestors who perished in World War II.

Richard Pollenz is remembered in love by his family – his wife of 62 years, Virginia Pollenz, of Tampa, Florida, son Richard Pollenz and his wife Anne Costello, of Tampa, Florida, and his grandchildren Scott Pollenz and Megan Pollenz, of Florida, daughter Kathy Shannon, her partner Jeff Clements, of Orlando, Florida, and grandchild Luke Clements of Tennessee, and daughter Kristine Dale, her husband Jeremy Dale, of Gilford, New Hampshire, and grandchildren Joshua Perkins and Jake Perkins, of New Hampshire.

He is survived by his sister, Shelley (Pollenz) Carlson, of Barrington, Illinois, and his nieces and nephews and their families: Kyle Carlson, Dana McCloud, William (Bill) Carlson, David Carlson, and Lori Lotz.

The family would like to say in closing -- all life is precious, and time is not promised. As you choose, please celebrate Richard by celebrating your own life and the love of your family and friends, in his honor.

Peace.