Richard Lee “Dick” Ehrenreich

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 July 2022 at 9:21 pm

MEDINA – Richard Lee “Dick” Ehrenreich, age 77, passed away on Friday, July 15, while visiting family in Medina, NY. Born and raised in Medina, he is the son of the late Carl and Wayve (Raymond) Ehrenreich of Lyndonville, NY.

Dick attended The United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, graduating in 1967 (“None Shall Surpass”). On Christmas Eve of 1967, he met the love of his life, Mary Monica Repko, and they were married on June 29, 1968.

Dick was a true Cold War Warrior, graduating from West Point with other notables in the Class of 1967 and adjoining classes.  As with all new Second Lieutenants of the era, he cut his teeth immediately serving in Vietnam as a Ranger supporting the Army of the Republic of Vietnam across 3 separate campaigns and two tours of duty.

He later served as an Air Defense Artillery Officer with the nuclear-armed Nike Hercules Missile System adding another overseas assignment as a Battery Commander in the Republic of South Korea to his domestic service. He completed additional assignments as an instructor and with the test and evaluation community, his Army career culminating in 1987 as a Major and having been personally awarded the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster to go with the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, the Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars and the National Defense Service Medal.

Having earned a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering with Stanford University in 1972, Dick entered the civilian defense sector in Huntsville with Dynetics working almost immediately on the  Strategic Defense Initiative, more commonly known as “Star Wars” program, directly leading to the end of the Cold War. He continued his work with missile defense working on foundational programs like the Patriot Missile System. Following the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 in 2002, with the creation of the Missile Defense Agency, Dick’s work moved into today’s premier Homeland Defense Systems of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and the Ground-based Midcourse Interceptor, which stand guard today. Finally, after 45 years of contributions to this nation’s defense as a citizen-soldier, Dick retired in 2012 in beautiful Huntsville, Alabama, his family in close company.

Dick was an avid sports fan. Throughout his life, he played baseball and basketball with various organizations, refereed high school basketball games, bowled in leagues, played golf, and coached his kids in DYA baseball. He was passionate about football, most especially Army Football, Auburn University Football, and the Buffalo Bills. He was excited for the Iron Bowl each year but most especially looked forward to the Army-Navy Game. Go Army, Beat Navy! He was a major league baseball fan and would attend as many games as he could, especially when traveling for work. While living in Maryland, he became a loyal fan of the Baltimore Orioles. He loved playing any card game and was very good at all of them.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Monica; three children and their spouses, Mary Jo (Clyde) Wikle of Madison, AL, Chris (Natalie) Ehrenreich of Kennesaw, GA, and Joseph (Pamela) Ehrenreich of Dawsonville, GA; eight grandchildren, Katie Wikle, Carl Wikle, Lauren Ehrenreich, Sydney Ehrenreich, Tristan Ehrenreich, Aidan Ehrenreich, Killian Ehrenreich and Stephen Ehrenreich. Surviving sisters are Diane Walker of Lockport, NY, and Marian (Daryl Osbourne) Pulis of Oswego, NY.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Wayve (Raymond) Ehrenreich, of Lyndonville, NY; brother David E. Ehrenreich of Lyndonville, NY; and his daughter Mary Katherine Nicole (Nikki) Ehrenreich.

He will also be missed by his beloved Chihuahuas: Jack, Roxie and Zoey.

Friends and family are welcome to visit the family at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 625 Airport Road, Huntsville, AL, on Monday, July 25, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be held after the visitation at 10 a.m. He will be interred at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville immediately following the Mass.

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to Wounded Warriors Project or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.